MedPAC Approves Final SGR Repeal, Physician Payment Fix

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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission made its final recommendations to Congress regarding the repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula used to calculate the Medicare physician fee schedule, according to an AHA News Now report.

MedPAC proposed updates that would freeze current payment levels for primary care physicians and would reduce payments for specialists by 5.9 percent for three straight years followed by a freeze, according to the report. However, MedPAC did not suggest that Congress fully offset the $300 billion cost of repealing the SGR and did not recommend any offsets to payments outside of the physician fee schedule. Other ways to make up for the cost of repeal would then have to found through other means, which is already on the table for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the supercommittee.

The American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and other industry groups have supported repeal of the SGR but have urged MedPAC to find other ways outside of physician payment cuts to offset the costs. If the SGR is not repealed, Medicare payment rates for physicians would fall by 29.4 percent starting Jan. 1, 2012.

Related Articles on the Sustainable Growth Rate:

MedPAC to Vote Today on Proposed SGR Fix
AHA, AMA Urge MedPAC to Consider Other Issues With SGR
President Obama's Deficit Plan: What Happens to the Sustainable Growth Rate?

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