In the House, Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI) introduced the anticipated amendment to offset the costs of H.R. 4015, the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014,” with a five-year delay in implementation of the ACA’s tax penalties for individuals who do not purchase health insurance. This bill passed the House last Friday.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) put a revised version of the Senate bill, now called the “Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act” and bearing the number S. 2110, on the Senate calendar. This bill contains the bipartisan, bicameral language of H.R. 4015/ S. 2000, along with Medicare policy extenders (e.g., the floor on the geographic adjustment for physician work) and other provisions that were accepted as amendments during the Senate Finance Committee’s consideration of an earlier bill, S. 1871. That bill will likely be considered on the Senate floor during the last week of March, after Congress returns from its recess this week.
Neither of these proposals enjoys bipartisan support in their current form, risking a stalemate on SGR repeal and ultimately passage of a short-term payment patch to avoid the 24 percent Medicare cut that will take effect on April 1. The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and the AMA do not support short-term patches and will continue to work closely with leadership in the House and Senate to build on the bipartisan, bicameral efforts that led to the successful development of SGR repeal legislation that is broadly supported by medicine.