Updated Toolkit -- The Sustainable Growth Rate: Seeking a ‘Doc Fix’ at the Edge of a Fiscal Cliff
A new Alliance toolkit tells you what you need to know about the current policy debate about the $138 billion Medicare physician payment problem – the "doc fix." The public is keeping a close eye on federal budget deficit reduction efforts this year, including potential automatic spending cuts initially mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Yet one component of the debate has been largely ignored - the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Indeed, because of the SGR, physicians in January 2013 faced a 26.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. Last-minute congressional intervention delayed the cut until January 2014 as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Without intervention, physicians will receive a 25 percent reimbursement cut in January 2014. At the same time, according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, if Congress and the president agree to permanently eliminate the SGR, the deficit will grow by another $ 138 billion over 10 years. The cost of repealing the SGR has fallen significantly since last year, spiking a new interest in permanently fixing the problem.
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