House Approves 31-Day SGR Freeze to Delay 23% Cut
November 30–Yesterday the House of Representatives approved a bill delaying the 23% cut to Medicare physician payments until Dec. 31. The Senate approved this legislation—H.R. 5712, the Physician Payment and Therapy Relief Act of 2010—on Nov. 19 and the legislation now awaits President Obama’s anticipated signature into law.
With this temporary “patch” in place, Congress can now focus on the longer-term Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) “fix” recently introduced in the House by Representatives John Dingell (D-MI), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). This bill, H.R. 6427, the Medicare Physician Payment Update Extension Act, replaces the impending cuts with a 1 percent positive update for 2011.
However, a yearlong fix is estimated to cost $16 billion, according to the American Medical Association. Therefore, Congress will need to identify funding sources to cover this large price tag in order for it to generate enough support to pass both the House and Senate. CAP continues to monitor this legislation and urges all pathologists to log onto www.capwiz.com/cap/home to contact their Members of Congress in support of H.R. 6427.
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