Calls to Repeal the SGR Continue as Congress Faces Pressure on Health System Reform

The NCMS, AMA and other physician-led organizations are calling for a permanent repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula, SGR (sustainable growth rate), as the White House continues its campaign for passage of a health care reform bill. The NCMS favors a predictable Medicare physician payment system that will allow physicians to plan quality initiatives and health information technology quality improvements. It would also help sustain the health care workforce and guarantee Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries’ provider access.

A 21.2% cut in Medicare physician payments is scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2010, after Congress enacted a stopgap extension when the cut initially took effect on March 1, 2010. The AMA wants the SGR eliminated and is opposing further extensions of cuts, calling it a band-aid approach that will only add to the cost when a permanent fix is ultimately implemented.

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