Physicians and patients are closer than ever before to reaching their long-sought goal of eliminating the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and establishing new payment systems that will support high-quality patient care. H.R. 4015, introduced by Rep. Mike Burgess, MD (R-TX) and S. 2000, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), represent the first bipartisan, bicameral legislation to replace the flawed Medicare physician payment update formula.
Even with these key bills pending, Congress has very few days to establish a pathway and enact legislation before the scheduled 2014 Medicare physician payment cut of 24% takes effect on April 1.
Physician voices must be strong, compelling, and unified if medicine is to accomplish SGR repeal and avoid enduring a 17th short-term payment patch. We are urging all AAOA members to demonstrate their support by asking their Congressional Representative to support H.R. 4015 and S. 2000.
All are invited to use the AMA’s toll-free hotline to contact their members of Congress: 1-800-833-6354
The message points are simple and direct:
* The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is widely acknowledged to be a policy failure. Congress has been forced to intervene 16 times since 2003 to prevent steep payment cuts and preserve seniors’ access to care.
* A bipartisan, bicameral process involving three Congressional committees has produced agreement on a new policy framework that repeals the SGR and creates a pathway to a higher-performing Medicare program.
* Repealing the SGR is the fiscally responsible choice. More money has been spent on short-term payment patches that continue supporting this failed policy than it would cost to pass the legislation before Congress today.
* It is time to establish new payment methods that will support the health care delivery systems that Medicare patients and American taxpayers deserve.
* Congress must seize this opportunity and act before March 31, when the SGR calls for a 24% across-the-board cut in Medicare physician payments.
* Tell Congress it is time to pass H.R. 4015 and S. 2000.
Additional supporting material can be found on the AMA’s dedicated website: www.FixMedicareNow.org