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Fix Medicare Physician Payment
The Medicare physician fee schedule is updated annually by applying a sustainable growth rate (SGR) target calculation intended to control growth. Since 2002, Medicare physician spending has exceeded the target set by the SGR and triggered a reduction in physician fees. Although Congress has repeatedly intervened to prevent reductions in Medicare physician payments, it has not reformed the SGR formula. The cumulative result of multiple, short-term Congressional interventions has created a deficit of billions of dollars in Medicare’s physician payment system and requires larger payment cuts each year. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office reduced its estimated cost of repealing the SGR from $244 billion to $116.5 billion. In the past year Congress has made unprecedented progress with SGR repeal by advancing bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation, and we urge Congress to resume and complete these efforts. Now is the time to act.
Additionally, cuts to physician payments resulting from sequestration further destabilize the Medicare program and compound the already dire situation for medical group practices caused by the SGR formula. The instability created by the combination of sequestration and the ever-present SGR undermines efforts to achieve broader, long-term reforms to the Medicare program.
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