[MMA News Now, Jan. 30, 2014]
According to the AMA’s legislative team, if Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula is not repealed in the next few weeks, it likely will be around until 2017 or beyond.
Richard Deem, AMA’s senior vice president of advocacy, said on a conference call with representatives of state medical associations and national specialty societies that the time is now to push for the repeal. He said if Congress “punts” the topic it may get ignored until after the next presidential cycle.
Proposals to permanently repeal SGR have been developed by the Senate Finance Committee, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the House Ways and Means Committee.
“This is the closest we’ve been in years,” said Dave Renner, MMA’s director of state and legislative affairs, who took part in the call. “The repeal has bi-partisan and bi-cameral support. The big question remains is how to pay for it. While some of the provisions in the package aren't exactly as we would have drafted them, overall the bills as proposed are much better than the current SGR law.”
Deem reported that Republicans in Congress favor offsetting the costs by developing means testing for beneficiaries of Medicare while Democrats are hoping to use the Overseas Contingency Operations funding that has been used to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“MMA members can help by emailing or calling their Senator or Representative to let them know it’s time to repeal SGR once and for all,” Renner said.