Medical lobby presses Congress on permanent Medicare fix
The medical lobby and other major provider groups made a public plea for the Senate to approve legislation that would permanently repeal Medicare’s troubled physician payment formula. In letters to Congress, television ads and in a webcast that proceeded to link news events in several states, the American Medical Association, AARP and Military Officers Association of America called on the Senate to take similar action to the House and pass legislation that repeals the current formula and replaces it with one that better reflects increasing medical practice costs. Medicare’s sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula is based on the economy’s health and has threatened cuts to physician payments every year since 2003. Congress has stepped in each time to prevent those cuts from occurring. Physicians face a 21.2% cut at the end of February unless Congress intervenes again. The Senate is expected to vote on a debt-ceiling bill that could possibly contain a permanent fix to the SGR.