House Passes Bill to Reverse Physician Pay Cut

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In a 417 to 1 vote, the House passed legislation to reverse a 21.3% SGR-mandated physician pay cut and grant a 2.2% pay increase instead. Rep George Miller (D-Calif) was the only holdout.

imageThe Senate passed the six-month, $6.1 billion fix last Friday, but the legislation stalled in the House, where Democratic leadership tried to hold out for a bigger package that included jobs creation.

The news of the temporary fix did not cheer physician leadership spokesperson William F. Jessee, MD, president and CEO, the Medical Group Management Association, who called for passage of a permanent repeal of the SGR.

“The short-term relief provided by passage of today’s bill to avert the 21 percent Medicare payment cut to physicians belies the fact that Congress continues to act irresponsibly in addressing the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula,” he says. “This latest patch expires in November, just one month before the start of the next fiscal year for most medical groups. It throws responsible business planning for 2011 into complete disarray and occurs exactly when physicians will make the difficult decision to participate in Medicare for the coming year.

"The Medical Group Management Association will conduct extensive member research regarding the consequences the ongoing uncertainty has on physician practices and patient care. Lawmakers must understand the importance of passing permanent SGR repeal before the end of 2010.”