SGR Update – Medicare cuts scheduled to go into effect March 1, 2010

Yesterday, the House passed HR 4691, legislation that extends a number of expiring programs for 30 days, including current Medicare physician payment rates, which would once again postpone the 21% cut that was scheduled to take effect this year.  The Senate attempted unsuccessfully on several occasions last night and this morning to pass the same bill by unanimous consent, but objections were raised by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY), on the basis that $10 billion cost of the program extensions was not offset.  The Senate has now adjourned for the weekend, so the 21% Medicare physician payment cut will be effective on Monday, March 1.  

We have been informed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that they are notifying their contractors to hold Medicare physician claims for 10 business days, effective Monday.  The agency will also be sending out a similar message on its various list serves this afternoon to physicians, and contractors will be instructed to disseminate this information as well.

Members of the Federation are urged to express their outrage to Congress about its terrible mismanagement of the Medicare and TRICARE programs, which are so important to the health and well-being of Americans who have served our nation so long and so well.    Tell them: 

  • Congress had more than a year to repeal the Medicare payment formula and ensure the security and stability of the program.  Instead, it has abandoned patients who rely on Medicare and TRICARE for their health care.
  • Parliamentary procedures offer no excuse for the harm they are causing these programs. 
  • Stop playing games with patients and the physicians; repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula once and for all.


Use the AMA’s Grassroots Hotline:  1-800-833-6354.

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