HomeWashington Letter2014 ▶ SGR Deadline Looms – Prospects Uncertain and the Price Tag Goes Up
SGR Deadline Looms – Prospects Uncertain and the Price Tag Goes Up

March 2014

Congress appears to be stumbling as it races to enact legislation to repeal and replace the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) before April 1, 2014. If Congress does not act by April 1 st, Medicare payments to physicians and other Part B providers will be cut by 24%.

Earlier this year, Congress appeared to be making bipartisan progress on enacting legislation to permanently repeal and replace SGR. All three Congressional committees of jurisdiction agreed to and passed, with broad bipartisan support, legislation to repeal and replace SGR.

However, the bipartisan spirit broke down when Congress wrestled with how to pay for the legislation. The House recently passed its version of the bill that included a 5 year delay in implementation of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate. The ACA delay is a non-starter for Senate Democrats and will be vetoed by the President. The Senate has not yet identified an offset for the SGR fix, and the price just got more expensive.

This week, the Congressional Budget Office – a non-partisan arm of Congress charged with estimating the cost of legislative proposals – released its official cost estimate of the SGR repeal legislation, estimating the bill would cost $180 billion over 10 years. That is $50 billion more than previous estimates, and the increased price tag may further frustrate efforts to enact a permanent SGR solution.

This week, ATS president Practice W. Finn MD sent a letter to members of the Senate and the House leadership urging Congress to work in good faith to find a way to permanently fix SGR.

Last Reviewed: October 2017