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AMA News Room

Feb. 20, 2014

AMA Pushes To Break SGR Status Quo on Anniversary of First Patch

For immediate release:
Feb. 20, 2014

Statement attributed to:
Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

"Today marks the anniversary of the first legislative 'patch' to Medicare's fatally-flawed physician payment formula known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR). On Feb. 20, 2003, an appropriation bill containing the first SGR patch was signed into law and started an 11-year legislative pattern that has grown a fiscal problem rather than solved it.

"To date, Congress has spent $153.7 billion on all 16 previous SGR patches, far more than the cost of permanently reforming the Medicare physician payment system. Further reliance on legislative patches is fiscally irresponsible. We can no longer afford to spend taxpayer money on stopgap measures that preserve a bad policy.

"Congress has long-debated the shortcomings of the SGR policy, and now a solution to this failed policy is finally at hand. The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) represents a bipartisan, bicameral, fiscally-prudent solution that we expect from Congress. Further, the legislation reforms Medicare payment policy to better reward improvements in patient care.

"Now is the time to break the SGR status quo and pass a long-term solution that establishes a transition to a more stable Medicare program that will better serve America's senior citizens."

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Media Contact:
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial
(312) 464-5970

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