With a massive Medicare physician payment cut scheduled to take effect at the end of the month, Congressional leaders continued work this week to find agreement on a new Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula "patch" or so called "doc fix." Congress has until January 1, 2012 to pass legislation halting the implementation of a scheduled 27.4 percent cut in physician payments.
Notwithstanding the medical community's strong support for a full repeal of the flawed SGR formula, Congress currently appears intent on passing a one to two-year "doc fix." Under this approach the SGR formula remains in effect with the projected payment cuts temporarily halted for the one or two year period.
Last week, ASA lobbyists received a briefing by members of the House Republican Leadership on the status of the SGR issue. The leadership disclosed their goal was a two-year "fix." A two-year period is the preferred mechanism as Congress would not need to act on the issue again until after the 2012 election.
Current Congressional deliberations involve finding bicameral agreement on the appropriate legislative vehicle to carry the "fix" as well as the sources for the funds to offset the additional spending associated with the proposal.
ASA will continue to inform the ASA membership of developments as they occur and to lobby Congress to ensure that this cut does not go into effect.