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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CONGRESSIONAL "SUPER COMMITTEE" AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SGR REFORM

TMA chief lobbyist Darren Whitehurst travels to Washington this week for the American Medical Association’s SGR Legislative Task Force. The group’s goal is repeal of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula, replacing it with a stable and fair new system for paying physicians for Medicare services. Looming large in the background is a 29.5-percent cut in fees set to take effect Jan. 1 if Congress doesn’t intervene first. But before then, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must make its recommendations on how to trim billions from the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Medicare spending obviously will be on the table. Our plan is to convince the so-called “Super Committee” that a slash-and-burn approach will backfire. As TMA President Bruce Malone, MD, wrote to U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas), the committee’s co-chair, “When it comes to Medicare, the responsible thing to do is to eliminate the SGR, eliminate the massive SGR debt, and replace it with a permanent payment formula. Failure to act now will dramatically increase the cost of necessary action in the future.”

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