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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

KEEP MEDICARE PAYMENT REFORM MOVING

Difficult as it may be to believe, it’s barely September and Congress is actually making some progress on replacing Medicare’s broken Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Thanks to the leadership of two Texans ― U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville), and Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) ― an SGR replacement bill is moving through the House with bipartisan support. H.R. 2810 repeals the SGR and replaces it with annual 0.5-percent rate increases. Beginning in 2019, physicians could report quality-of-care data under a new program and earn up to an extra 1-percent increase ― or possibly face a 0.5-percent cut. The bill says medicine will play a central role in designing the quality metrics. It also sets up ways for physicians to establish alternate payment models that would be exempted from the new quality reporting program. The bill is not perfect. We are concerned about the size of the payment increases and the potential for a new set of bureaucratic hassles to spring up around the quality reporting program. We don’t know yet how Congress will decide to pay for the bill. But it’s been years since we’ve seen this much progress toward repealing the SGR. I don’t want to lose this opportunity to fix the bill and pass it into law. Please contact Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and your representative and ask them to keep H.R. 2810 moving so we can repeal the SGR this year.

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