On March 26, 2015 (10:11 AM EDT), the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 402 to 12 passed a bill to fix the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Law.
The bill now moves on the U.S. Senate and there is hope that President Obama will sign the final bipartisan legislation. The new bill is intended to permanently fix an annual problem that has been pushed on year to year since 1997 and the Clinton administration. According the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if this SGR issue was not addressed by March 31, 2015, Medicare reimbursement for physicians’ would have been automatically cut by 21% on April 1, 2015. That same CBO estimates that the passed bill cost more than $200 billion (USD) and will add $140 billion (USD) to the US budget deficit over the next 10 years. The American Medical Association immediately applauded the actions and urged the Senate to move forward before the recess. The AMA release goes on to say:
“When passed by the Senate, the bill will put an end to the cycle of Congress passing expensive patches to extend a policy that all agree was bad in the first place. The new policy supports innovative new delivery and payment models that will help improve care quality, health outcomes and lower costs. It also assures access to care for children, low-income individuals and families by extending funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers.”
This action is good news for the industry as it has been undergoing this constant pressure that in our opinion, was poorly conceived from the start.