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Monday, March 10, 2014

SGR REPEAL WITHIN GRASP IF WE ACT NOW

Hundreds of physicians from Texas and around the country met with their U.S. senators and representatives last week as part of the Coalition of State Medical Societies and the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference. David Henkes, MD, chair of the Texas Delegation to the AMA, led our group, which focused on repealing Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and on the avalanche of problems coming with the transition to the ICD-10 coding system in October. SGR repeal, of course, is the most pressing problem, as we face a 24-percent cut in Medicare payments April 1 if Congress takes no action. We’re excited about the prospects of SGR repeal through H.R. 4015/S. 2000, sponsored by Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville). But while organized medicine and much of Congress support the policy positions in the bill, its passage is by no means certain. First, it lacks bipartisan support on how to finance its 10-year, $138 billion price tag. Secondly, congressional leadership seems loath to schedule any tough votes this election year. All of this points to the need for even more grassroots lobbying from TMA members. So far, you’ve sent more than 1,400 emails through TMA’s Grassroots Action Center and made hundreds of calls through the AMA’s (800) 833-6354 hotline. But we can’t let up now. Please call and write today, and solicit your partners, colleagues, patients, and friends as well. In 12 years of this fight, we’ve never seen such a good chance for success.

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