House, Senate Approve Bills to Fix Medicare SGR

The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees have both passed separate but similar bills to repeal and replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate.

captiol building2Both measures would replace the flawed Medicare physician payment formula with a value-based payment system beginning in 2017. The house bill includes a 0.5 percent annual payment update through 2017, while the senate proposal would freeze current payment levels until 2023. Additionally, the senate bill would extend the Medicare-Dependent Hospital Program and the low-volume hospital payment adjustment.

The approval of the two bills is the latest development in lawmakers' quest to find a permanent solution to the SGR. Earlier this year, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees issued a proposal that would repeal and replace the physician pay formula. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a similar proposal this past summer.

Every year since 2003, Congress has temporarily bypassed the SGR so physicians would not have to endure double-digit cuts to their Medicare pay. The latest proposed legislative patch would shield physicians from a scheduled 24 percent pay cut and give them a 0.5 percent payment update through March 2014.

More Articles on Medicare Physician Payments:
CBO: Medicare SGR Patch Would Cost $8.3B  
CBO Reduces Expected Cost of SGR Repeal to $153.2B  
CMS: Chronic Care Management, SGR Main Issues for Physician Pay in 2014 

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