Congress is ‘Half Way’ to Repealing the SGR

sgr-voteEarlier today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act,” by a substantial bipartisan margin—392 to 37. This legislation would end the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, used to calculate physicians’ Medicare payments, and would institute changes in the Medicare reimbursement structure.

“This bill replaces arbitrary cuts with actual reforms to ensure access to care for seniors and provide long-awaited certainty to the physicians who choose to serve our elderly population,” said U.S. Rep. George Holding, who represents areas around Raleigh and east to Wilson and Goldsboro.

Now attention turns to the Senate, where leadership will decide whether to take up the bill tonight following a lengthy series of planned votes on the budget resolution.  It is still possible for H.R. 2 to pass both chambers of Congress before the April recess begins tomorrow morning.  But, Senators will need to agree to an expedited process for that to occur.

Please help maintain the tremendous momentum created by the overwhelming House vote, by contacting your Senators and asking them to vote “yes” on H.R. 2 before adjourning for the April recess.

Call your senators using the AMA’s toll-free Grassroots Hotline: 1-800-833-6354. Visit FixMedicareNow to send an urgent message by email or social media.

House members were clearly proud of their bipartisan efforts to end the 17 years of ‘patches’ to extend the SGR.

“Don’t look now, but we’re actually governing,” said U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, whose North Carolina district includes areas west and south of Raleigh extending from High Point to Fayetteville, on the floor Thursday.

House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had worked together to fashion this “historic bipartisan package,” as Pelosi termed it, over the last few months.

Congress needs to get the job done before March 31, when the latest SGR patch expires, and before their two-week spring recess, which starts next Thursday. If the clock runs out without any legislation being passed, doctors will face a 21 percent reduction in Medicare payments come April 1.

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