March 26, 2015
House Passes SGR Permanent Repeal Legislation
On March 26, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill that repeals and replaces the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that has systematically introduced cuts to Medicare payments each year.
Included in this legislation were provisions that physicians would receive a 0.5 percent update for the initial five years of the law while a new system, known as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS, is implemented. The MIPS program is effective in 2019. The legislation also provides for physician participation in Alternative Payments Models (APM).
The final vote in the House of Representatives was 392-37. This legislation next faces a vote in the Senate, which is expected to take up the legislation when they return the week of April 13. If it passes in the Senate, it will next go to President Barack Obama, who has indicated he would sign it into law. The current SGR patch expires on March 31, 2015. Without action, doctors would see a 21 percent cut to Medicare payments on April 1, although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has indicated they will allow for flexibility on the deadline as Congress reaches a solution.
ASA congratulates Congress on its work to abolish the SGR formula and looks forward to working with lawmakers and CMS to play a meaningful role in helping to shape the implementation of new payment structures.
Click here to read a statement from ASA President J.P. Abenstein, M.S.E.E., M.D. on this legislation.
Click here for the full text of H.R. 2 or click here for a section-by-section summary.
Read more from ASA's Payment and Practice Management Department on the payment landscape post SGR.