Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013
This Week's News
This Week's News
CBO report shows cost to repeal SGR cut nearly in half; doctors call for action
A new report issued Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the cost to eliminate Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is just over half the cost of repeal in 2012. The AMA and physicians nationwide are calling for repeal of the flawed formula and transitioning to new health care delivery and payment models.
Thanks to lower-than-expected growth in Medicare physician spending, the cost to repeal the SGR formula is now $138 billion—down from $244 billion just last year.
"Now is the time to end this failed policy once and for all and protect access to care for seniors now and in the future," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a statement. "We urge Congress and the administration to take advantage of the fact that the cost of repealing the SGR is lower than it has been in many years and move promptly to replace the formula with a new system that encourages quality care while reducing costs."
As part of the AMA's National Advocacy Conference Feb. 11–13, hundreds of physicians from around the country are heading to the nation's capital to call on their members of Congress to repeal the SGR formula.
The newly reduced cost to eliminate the SGR formula is now well below the more than $146 billion Congress already has spent to preserve the formula with short-term payment patches.
Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., and Rep. Joe Heck, DO, R-Nev., on Wednesday introduced a bill that seeks to end the SGR formula, reward high-quality care and lower health care costs.
“This legislation is an important part of the continuing discussion on the future of Medicare and the end of the SGR,” Dr. Lazarus said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with Reps. Schwartz and Heck and their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move past the SGR and transition to an array of Medicare delivery and payment options that give physicians the flexibility they need to help lower costs and improve the quality of care for their patients.”
The AMA will continue to urge Congress to permanently repeal the SGR formula and transition to a higher-performing Medicare system that encourages quality care while reducing costs.