Legislative Action Alert: SGR

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 02:11 PM
Print this page E-mail this page

The American Medical Association and the Colorado Medical Society are calling on physicians to ramp up grassroots pressure on members of Congress as an SGR repeal is being actively considered in Congress’ current lame duck session. Because the session is only expected to last a few weeks; your help is timely and critical.

Suggested talking points when speaking with your congressional representatives:

  • The “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014” (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) is the result of more than a year of bipartisan and bicameral work by the House committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Finance. The bill was developed through a transparent, regular order process, with each committee reporting the bill unanimously.
  • This bill represents not only an end to the SGR, but the beginning to real reforms in the Medicare program. In this legislation, the committees of jurisdiction have achieved remarkable consensus on how to move the Medicare program from a volume driven, fee-for-service model to one that rewards quality, efficiency and value, while also bringing multiple Medicare requirements (MU, PQRS) into better alignment.
  • If Congress defers action until next year, new committee leadership will have to achieve consensus on new legislation before the 17th patch expires on March 31, 2015. Given the time that it took to develop this complex legislation, this will be very hard to do in three months while going through regular order and maintaining the widespread support in the medical community that H.R. 4015/S. 2000 enjoys.
  • If the SGR is not repealed in the lame duck session, additional patches will likely be necessary. An 18th patch covering April 2015 through the end of the year, including extenders, would cost nearly $20 billion, and the 114th Congress would likely be forced to consider subsequent patches that would cost billions more. It will be extremely difficult to achieve bipartisan consensus on billions of dollars in offsets for additional patches, and the health care provider community will strongly oppose continued and permanent cuts to fund temporary SGR patches.
  • Current CBO estimates for repeal—approximately $119 billion over 10 years—are historically low. However, the unpredictable and frequently inexplicable variations in SGR estimates mean the costs could go up at any time. The 113th Congress is closer than any Congress has been to repealing the SGR and it is imperative that you seize the opportunity to complete this work.

Requested Action:

It is imperative that you contact members of your state’s Congressional delegation today and specifically ask them to insist that leadership enact SGR repeal this year. Waiting until next year threatens all that has been achieved to this point and introduces new and significant obstacles to repealing the SGR and enacting important reforms to the Medicare program.

Please call your members of Congress via the AMA’s Physicians Grassroots Network hotline at (800) 833-6354 and deliver this urgent message this week. Or click here to use the “Fix Medicare Now” website to send an email.

Posted in: Initiatives | Advocacy


Please sign in to view or post comments.