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AMA Supports Medicare Reforms

Pending legislation would repeal SGR (February 10)

The American Medical Association (AMA) has announced its decision to support the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/ S. 2000) and has urged Congress to fast-track the bipartisan legislation to update Medicare’s troubled payment system.

In a letter of support sent to congressional leaders, the AMA praised the legislation as a “significant accomplishment.”

The new legislation will support enhancements in health care delivery, including repeal of Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, positive annual updates to Medicare rates, quality standards developed by physicians, and a pathway to new models of health care delivery and payment.

To date, Congress has spent $153.7 billion over 12 years on SGR “patches” — far more than the cost of permanently reforming the Medicare physician payment system, the AMA says. Because of the cumulative nature of the SGR formula, the cost of postponing a permanent solution rises each year.

“The nation can no longer afford to spend taxpayer money on stopgap measures that preserve bad policy and prolong years of paralyzing instability and financial uncertainty in the Medicare program,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD. “The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act will establish a transition to a more stable Medicare physician payment policy that better serves America’s senior citizens, veterans, military families, and people with disabilities.”

Source: AMA; February 10, 2014.

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