HR 3961 SGR Fix; One Hurdle Down, Two Remaining

U.S. House of Representatives passes SGR fix

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed H.R. 3961, the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009” by a vote of 243-183. The legislation would permanently repeal the unworkable Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) and create a path for future positive updates.  Without SGR reform this year, anesthesiologists and all other physicians face a 21 percent Medicare payment cut beginning Jan. 1, 2010, with additional cuts projected in future years.  H.R. 3961 would eliminate such SGR reductions to Medicare physician payments.  Instead, the bill would create a new physician payment formula with two buckets that would:

  • Allow the volume of most services to grow at the rate of GDP plus 1 percentage point per year
  • Allow the volume of primary and preventive care services to grow at GDP plus 2 percent per year

H.R. 3961 would also remove drugs and laboratory services not paid directly to practitioners from spending targets. For the bill to continue moving through the legislative process, it must receive consideration by the U.S. Senate.  Contact you Senators to make sure they know where you stand on this bill. Once the Senate has approved the bill it will then require a signature from the President.

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