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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SGR REPEAL BILL A "MARKED IMPROVEMENT OVER THE STATUS QUO"

When you spend months lobbying an issue through the truly byzantine halls of Congress, it’s always gratifying to know that your arguments have been heard. Since the last flurry of public activity in early November, TMA, the other members of the Coalition of State Medical Societies, and the American Medical Association have worked furiously with senators, representatives, and their staffs on a bill to repeal Medicare’s disastrous Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The outcome was a solid piece of legislation that offers physicians your best chance in history to overthrow the SGR albatross. “We are pleased to announce our support for HR 4015/S2000,” the coalition wrote in a letter to the House and Senate committee chairs that produced the bill. “While we have concerns with aspects of HR 4015/S2000 … this legislation represents a marked improvement over the status quo.” As we requested, this latest draft not only would repeal the SGR immediately, but also it:
  • Provides five years of 0.5-percent positive annual payment updates;
  • Simplifies, adds more funds for bonuses, and reduces the potential penalties in Medicare’s “quality incentive” programs;
  • Starts to cut the federal red tape and hassles that interfere with physicians who are just trying to provide good care for your patients; and
  • Helps prevent new causes of legal action against physicians.
If you haven’t done so yet, please call or write U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and your House member to urge them to support the bill. Use the TMA Grassroots Action Center — it’s fast and easy. Finally, I want to once again thank two Texans in Congress — U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville), and Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) — for their outstanding leadership on this issue and, most of all, for listening to the voices of practicing physicians.

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