Docs take a pass on SGR repeal letter
More proof that events in Washington are unpredictable: A “dear colleagues” letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction circulated in the House urging repeal of the sustainable growth-rate formula for Medicare payments—the bane of many docs’ existence—did not get signed by most of the physicians serving in the House.
In all, the letter was signed by 92 Democrats and 21 Republicans, but the vast majority of docs took a pass. Physicians signing the letter were: Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.).
The 12 physicians who didn’t sign were: Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Michael Burgess (RTexas), Bill Cassidy (R. La.) Scott DesJarlais (RTenn.), John Fleming (R-La.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) Andy Harris (R-Md.), Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), and Tom Price (R-Ga.). “Everybody was approached,” Tali Israeli, a spokesperson for Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) tells Outliers.
Of the six nonsigners whose offices were contacted, only Burgess supplied an on-the-record response. “The SGR is a complex issue that will require an in-depth look if we are going to find a permanent fix,” Burgess wrote in an e-mail. “However, the Select Committee is not where the SGR should be dissected to achieve this goal. The SGR should be fixed on the policy side and the Select Committee should focus on reducing the nation’s deficit. Their $1.5 trillion target could be achieved by eliminating spending that is slated to begin in the future. The perfect example is the Affordable Care Act.”
In an essay published in the Washington Times, Burgess asked the committee to consider eliminating Medicaid expansions and health insurance premium and exchange subsidies called for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.