Loose Framework for SGR Fix Unveiled, New IPAB Repeal Vote Doubtful

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and other representatives of his party released a framework of their plan to permanently replace the sustainable growth rate that would make drastic cuts to Medicare payments to physicians, according to a report by The Hill.

Fixing the SGR would save physicians from Medicare pay cuts over 30 percent, but at a cost of $138 billion estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, which lowered its earlier cost prediction from $245 billion due to slower-than-expected Medicare spending growth.

Details of the framework were slim but center around three phases in which the SGR would be ended, fee-for-service payments would be swapped for quality care incentives and then enhanced by further efficiency bonuses. Rep. Upton told medical conference attendees in Washington he hoped to have a bill on the house floor this summer. Earlier this month, Reps. Joe Heck, DO (R-Nev.), and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would repeal the SGR as well.

In addition, Rep. Upton said he was unsure the House would take up another vote to repeal the health law's Independent Payment Advisory Board. Previous attempts to do away with the IPAB, an appointed panel that would make binding recommendations to limit Medicare spending if costs grew too high, have been unsuccessful, despite opposition from some members of President Barack Obama's own party.

Asked about the potential for further Republican efforts to block the IPAB, Rep. Upton responded, "I don't know that we've actually made a decision. That well could be part of the mix. We haven't figured that out yet," according to The Hill.

More Articles on the Sustainable Growth Rate:

Bipartisan House Bill Aims to Repeal Medicare's SGR
Did the Fiscal Cliff-SGR Bill Rob Hospitals?
Health Subcommittee Leaders Cast Themselves in Party Roles

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