GOP Doctor's Caucus Supports Burgess' Legislation to Repeal, Replace SGR
Posted by Jill Shatzen on February 28, 2014 | comments
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Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Vice-Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, today announced that the GOP Doctors Caucus agreed to the policies in his legislation to repeal and replace the Sustainable Growth Rate, which he introduced earlier this month.

In a letter today to House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the members of the Doc Caucus said the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, H.R. 4015 and S. 2000, is the first bicameral, bipartisan solution to the SGR since 1997.

“After taking time to review the legislative framework, the House GOP Doctors Caucus has agreed to the policies contained within this compromise proposal,” the Members wrote. “With physicians and patients facing a March 31 deadline before the current patch expires, we must act now to repeal a flawed policy that threatens patients’ access to care.”

Burgess, who introduced the bill earlier this month, said he was happy to report the endorsement of the bill by fellow physicians and health care providers in the House.

“If anyone knows how destructive and pernicious the SGR has been to America’s seniors, it’s doctors,” Burgess said. “This bill puts medicine back in charge and allows providers to work collaboratively with CMS to determine the appropriate methodology to accurately measure quality. In addition, by maintaining a fee for service option, more providers are likely to remain in the system. The progress we have made this year toward repealing and replacing the SGR is unparalleled, but it is not the end of our efforts. We will continue to fight for a stable update beyond the first five years.” 

This agreement repeals the flawed SGR formula and replaces it with a system focused on quality, value, and accountability. It incentivizes the highest quality of care for seniors with the use of quality measures determined by physicians and stakeholders themselves, and ensures that providers compete on a level playing field to deliver the best care possible to Medicare beneficiaries. This agreement provides for five years of 0.5 percent positive updates in physician payments as well as a provision to determine what further updates may be necessary. This is intended to prevent harmful cuts to Medicare physicians that would ultimately threaten seniors’ access to care. Ultimately, the agreement seeks to strengthen the integrity of the Medicare program and protect seniors’ access to quality care.

The bill was unanimously reported out of the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, as well as the Senate Finance Committee. It currently has more than 30 cosponsors, including the support of Democratic physicians.

To read the letter, click here.

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