Top House Republicans circulate plan to permanently replace SGR

Article adapted from the AMA Morning Rounds, 4-4-2013.

CQ (4/4, Ethridge, Subscription Publication) reports, “House Republican leaders have updated their plan for a new system of paying Medicare physicians and may have legislation on the floor this summer.” Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees “released a more detailed version of their framework for repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) Wednesday and asked for provider input by April 15.” Representative Michael C. Burgess (R-TX), vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, “said he would like to see his committee take up legislation to replace the SGR by this summer, but added, ‘I cannot tell you that there is a precise timeline to which we are going to adhere.'”

The Hill (4/4, Viebeck, 21K) “Healthwatch” blog reports, “Leaders of two top House committees are circulating an expanded draft of their plan to repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR), the flawed physician payment formula that necessitates an annual ‘doc fix.'” The article adds that the plan “would use SGR repeal as an opportunity to make dramatic changes to healthcare delivery within Medicare.” For example, after a few years, “Medicare payments to physicians would be tied in part to certain performance and efficiency measures.”

In a separate report, The Hill (4/4, Baker, 21K) “Healthwatch” blog adds that Burgess, “who is a physician and chairs the House GOP’s Doctors’ Caucus, said there is a serious and bipartisan push to free doctors from the ‘tyranny’ of Medicare’s payment formula – and to do it soon.”

Modern Healthcare (4/4, Robeznieks, Subscription Publication, 71K) reports that GOP Representatives Fred Upton and Dave Camp, both of Michigan, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, and Kevin Brady of Texas said in a letter, “Based on respondent input, we envision a system where providers have the flexibility to participate in the payment and delivery model that best fits their practice. The overarching goal is to reward providers for delivering high quality, efficient healthcare.”