SOURCE: American Medical Association

American Medical Association

November 18, 2013 18:09 ET

AMA Urges Congress to Repeal SGR by Year's End

Momentum Continues to Build for Bipartisan, Bicameral SGR Repeal Proposal in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - November 18, 2013) - Physician leaders from all corners of the country today strongly and decisively called for Congress to repeal Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), the failed payment formula that is threatening care for the nation's seniors, disabled and military families. Gathered for the American Medical Association's (AMA) Interim Meeting, physicians within the House of Delegates directed the AMA to continue its strong advocacy aimed at repealing the SGR, and work to enhance potential legislation by aligning it with current AMA policy.

"The AMA has heard the nation's physicians and we're pulling out the stops to get Congress to act and take a fiscally responsible course that will stop the annual cycle of draconian Medicare cuts and short-term patches," said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. "Now is the time to move past the annual SGR crisis and toward a Medicare program that ensures access to high-quality and efficient health care for patients and a stable practice environment for physicians."

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee issued a legislative framework for a SGR repeal in October, the first bipartisan, bicameral proposal that recognizes the broken Medicare payment formula has to go. Physician representatives from state and specialty medical societies will accompany AMA leaders tomorrow to Capitol Hill and stress the need for a stable and reliable Medicare program.

There is bipartisan agreement that the failed SGR formula threatens access to care and Medicare innovation. Physician payments are a small piece -- only 16 percent -- of Medicare spending, but physicians can help lower overall costs when given the flexibility to choose new models of care. The SGR is an obstacle to implementing this innovation.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the cost to eliminate Medicare's failed SGR payment formula is less than half the price of repeal last year. In 2012, the AMA and 110 other physician organizations developed principles for transitioning Medicare to include an array of payment models that allow physicians the flexibility to choose options that will help lower costs and improve the quality of care for patients.

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation's physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America.

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    Justin DeJong
    Vice President, Editorial and Channel Strategy
    American Medical Association
    312.464.5961 (office)
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