By Katie Ni
AMSA Education & Outreach Coordinator, Health Policy Committee
<>In a near-impossible feat of bipartisan collaboration in Congress, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has voted unanimously, 51-0, for a bill that aims to solve the long-overdue problem of Medicare’s sustainable growth rate.
Since 1997, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) has been employed as a method to control Medicare spending by ensuring that increases in expenses for Medicare recipients do not exceed the yearly increase in GDP. However, the SGR formula achieves this goal by cutting payment for physician services. By this method, physicians have faced proposals for significant cuts every year for the past dozen years, followed by last-minute “doc fixes” from Congress that help undo the cuts. SGR has therefore long been a huge headache to physicians, and serve as a disincentive for physicians to treat Medicare beneficiaries. Continuation of the current SGR system threatens to reduce Medicare recipients’ access to health care services every year, and is also costly for Congress to continuously patch up with “doc fixes”.
The proposed bill, to be called the “Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act
of 2013”, will repeal the current SGR system and eventually replace it with ...>