Friday, April 19, 2013

New Proposal to Eliminate SGR Gaining Traction

APA has responded to the latest iteration of a proposal by Republicans in the House of Representatives to eliminate the Sustainable Growth Rate component of the Medicare payment formula in a letter Tuesday to Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. 

The proposal, still evolving and not yet translated into draft legislation, has gained traction as a substantive policy proposal from key House committees after years of congressional inaction on replacing the SGR system. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office recently released estimates that put the overall  costs of eliminating the SGR much lower than previously expected. (The SGR mandates that increases in Medicare volume be offset by decreases in physician pay, without taking into account practice costs and inflation. The new lower CBO estimates of the cost of eliminating SGR are the result of substantially lower increases in Medicare volume).

The new proposal may be the best chance for eliminating the SGR formula, according to APA’s Division of Government Relations. But the proposal is also linked to significant overall reforms of Medicare and physician payment. In the letter to Upton and Camp, APA addresses the complexities of the proposal and raises a number of questions pertinent to psychiatrists. To read the APA letter go here.

(Image: Wollertz/


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