House overwhelmingly votes to repeal SGR

The U.S. House has voted for a permanent "doc fix" and in favor of repealing the sustainable growth rate formula.

The legislation, which was passed with a vote of 392-37 in the House, will now go to the Senate for a vote. If the Senate passes the bill by the end of the month and President Barack Obama signs it, which he has already indicated he will, the cycle of temporary fixes will end.

If the measure doesn't make it to the president's desk for signature by the end of the month, physicians will see a 21 percent cut to their Medicare payments April 1 under the SGR. If a temporary fix is put into place this year, it would be the 18th time the payment cuts have been blocked by Congress.

The bipartisan measure has received support from the American Hospital Association, and the American Medical Association applauded the House for overwhelmingly passing the bill.

"We urge the U.S. Senate to take swift action to approve the policy and send it to the President's desk before the current SGR payment patch expires on March 31," said Robert M. Wah, MD, president of the AMA.

More articles on healthcare finance:

Hospitals urge Congress to maintain support for 340B program
AHA voices support for permanent 'doc fix' bill
Fee-for-service vs. value-based care: 6 points of debate raised by health policy experts

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