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ASA and Medical Groups Urge Congress to Block Sequestration and SGR Medicare Payment Cuts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On September 12, ASA joined the AMA, 72 other medical organizations and 51 state medical associations in urging Congress to take immediate action to thwart the pending Budget Control Act (BCA) sequestration and Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment cuts. 

Last year, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, which created the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the "super committee."  The super committee was tasked with reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.  As a result of the committee's failure to reach an agreement, a process of automatic cuts known as sequestration was triggered over a 9-year period beginning in Fiscal Year 2013.  These across-the-board cuts require half of the cuts come from defense and half from other federal programs, including Medicare. Cuts to the Medicare program are capped at 2 percent. 

Acknowledging the fiscal challenges facing the nation, the letter highlighted that these cuts would "undermine efforts to achieve broader, long-term reforms to the Medicare program" and "would not only impede improvements to our health care system, it could lead to serious access to care issues for Medicare patients as well as employment reductions in medical practices."

Additionally, the letter pointed out the poor timing of these cuts with the additional threats of financial penalties by other Medicare-related programs such as the e-prescribing program, the electronic health record meaningful use program, the Physician Quality Reporting System and the value-based modifier.

ASA supports full repeal and replacement of the flawed SGR payment formula and opposes the sequestration cuts to the Medicare program. 

Review the letter.

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