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Cost Estimate on SGR fix increases

With less than two weeks to go before the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 expires, a great number of people are on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen June 1. Will Medicare cut physician pay rates by 21 percent? No one knows for sure what will happen on that fateful day just yet. Speculation abounds among Congress members and industry stakeholders, however.

One thing that is certain is the cost of all this legislation. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate released April 30 projects the price tag for doing away with the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula “and freezing pay at current levels would cost nearly $276 billion over the next 10 years—and that’s without accounting for the more than $6 billion it would cost to keep pay steady for the rest of 2010,” according to an amednews.com article.
The American Medical Association (AMA) contends that a permanent solution to the “flawed” SGR formula is indeed costly, but necessary—and the longer Congress puts off dealing with it, the more costly it will be.
“It’s well known that the budgetary gimmicks used by Congress to delay Medicare physician payment cuts increase the cost of reform and the size of the cuts, so these new CBO projections are not surprising,” AMA President J. James Rohack, MD said. “It’s time for Congress to put aside the short-term actions that have more than quadrupled the price of a solution for American taxpayers and fix the problem once and for all for seniors, military families and their physicians.”
The article mentions some of the current bills circulating in Congress and provides an interesting look at how ongoing legislation will affect Medicare spending and physician pay.
Read the entire amednews.com article.

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4 Responses to “Cost Estimate on SGR fix increases”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Does this potential cut affect DME suppliers as well?

  2. Karen says:

    Why do they have to do a 21% immediate cut to the fees? Wouldn’t it be less of a hardship on the practices most affected to make the cuts over several years? Further, why give the incentive to initiate EHR’s? It is all political!

  3. Nicole Miller says:

    I wish lawmakers had to go to school as long as physicians do to learn to do their jobs. Maybe they would be better at it if they did!

  4. Chris says:

    If this goes thru, it will result in more physicians withdrawing from accepting Medicare patients and/or retiring early. Creating another health care crisis.