4 Key Statistics on Medicare's SGR

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Every year since 2003, Congress has passed short-term legislative patches to stave off double-digit Medicare pay cuts for physicians under the sustainable growth rate.

However, it looks as if a permanent solution to the SGR might be within reach: Last month, House and Senate leaders introduced a bipartisan bill that would repeal the SGR and replace it with a payment system that incentivizes physicians to provide high-quality, low-cost care. The legislation combines proposals approved last year by the House Ways and Means Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Finance Committee. With the latest temporary patch set to expire at the end of March, Congress will need to act soon to shield physicians from steep cuts.

Based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation published by The Journal of the American Medical Association, here are four key statistics about the SGR.

1. Physicians face a 24 percent Medicare pay cut on April 1 under the SGR, unless lawmakers act to permanently or temporarily avert the reimbursement reduction.

2. Repealing the SGR and preventing fee cuts would cost $115 billion during the next decade. The cost would be greater if physician fees are increased.

3. Congress has overridden scheduled SGR fee cuts 16 times since 2003.

4. Eight-six percent of Medicare patients say their usual source of care is a physician's office or clinic.

More Articles on Medicare's SGR:
CIOs, the SGR and a New Direction for Health IT
Paying for a Permanent Solution: How Cost Still Stands in the Way of SGR Repeal
Debt Limit Bill Would Fund SGR Repeal, Extend Sequestration Cuts 

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