On March 15, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its annual report of Medicare payment recommendations to Congress. Created under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, MedPAC is considered an independent agency of Congress tasked with advising Congress on Medicare issues.
The 2013 Annual MedPAC Medicare Payment Policy report repeats a previous controversial recommendation that would repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a 10 year legislative update. This update would consist of payment cuts to specialty physicians, like anesthesiologists, by 5.9 percent for the first three years and then a payment freeze for the remaining seven years. Payments to primary care specialties would be exempted from these payment cuts and would be instead frozen at their current rate. ASA is on record strongly opposing this approach to replacing the SGR.
MedPAC is comprised of 17 appointed members serving 3-year terms. Last year, Alice Coombs, M.D., an anesthesiologist and ASA member was appointed as a Commissioner to MedPAC and will serve through 2015.
Review the 2013 report.
Learn more about MedPAC.