Legislators to Supercommittee: Eliminate SGR

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Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are urging President Obama’s supercommittee to eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR). Reps. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) believe SGR repeal should be considered if there is to be any "seriousness" about budgeting going forward. In a press conference earlier this week, Schwartz said Democrats are concerned about savings from Medicare being used for deficit reduction rather than reinvested into Medicare. Congress will inevitably be forced to address the SGR by the end of the year, she noted, either with a long-term solution or another stopgap measure to stave off a 30% cut in physicians' payments. The supercommittee should include the SGR in its proposal “one way or another,” Schwartz said. Schwartz is working on a bill to replace the SGR. However, she and Roe agree that the first step is to repeal it. “It’s a tremendous opportunity — may never come again,” Roe said in addressing reporters. Ultimately, he added, Medicare must abandon the system of from paying physicians based on the number of procedures they perform. He foresees the implementation of a hybrid system wherein a reformed fee-for-service model is used in rural areas and physicians practicing in more populated areas with more doctors are paid based on patients’ health.