Press Releases

Burgess leads coalition to strengthen Medicare, urges Senate action

Today, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., oversaw the passage of his bill, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a long-term sustainable plan. The agreement marks a critical advancement for entitlement reform, and is the result of intricate – long fought – efforts to promote higher quality care and access for seniors.

“This is the first step toward real, meaningful, entitlement reform,” Burgess said. “I have worked my entire congressional career to address this problem and, after years of uneven progress, we have finally taken this opportunity to do what is right for seniors, providers, and the American taxpayer.

“We just accomplished the unprecedented. Now, it’s time for the Senate to take action. I am optimistic that the Senate will see today’s work as a bellwether to prioritize this critical legislation and send it to the White House to be signed into law.”

Background: H.R. 2 repeals the fundamentally flawed SGR formula, which has forced 17 short-term costly patches over the past decade in order to prevent devastating Medicare reimbursement rate cuts. The formula will be replaced with a system focused on quality care and accountability. The plan will:

• Repeal the SGR and end the annual threat to seniors’ care, while instituting a 0.5% payment update each year for five years.
• Improve the fee-for-service system by streamlining Medicare’s existing web of quality programs into one value-based performance program. It increases payment accuracy and encourages physicians to adopt proven practices.
• Incentivize the use of alternative payment models to encourage doctors and providers to focus more on coordination and prevention to improve quality and reduce costs.
• Make Medicare more transparent by giving patients more access to information and supplying doctors with data they can use to improve care.