President Signs Medicare Fee Law as Part of Payroll Tax Extension
Last week, we reported that Congress failed to repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, but voted to avert the scheduled 27% fee cut in 2012 that is the consequence of the flawed Medicare payment formula. In doing so, Congress missed an historic opportunity to offset the growing cost of funding the SGR shortfall by offsetting the costs with excess spending projected for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead, Congress adopted the proposal of the congressional conference committee.
Failure to address the SGR in the way proposed by AMA, MSNJ, and virtually all of organized medicine will:
- cost $20 billion to stave off the cuts for ten months;
- add another $25 billion to the cost of eliminating the SGR; and
- result in an estimated payment cut of 32% in 2013.
The House voted 293-132 in favor of the conference committee’s proposal. The Senate voted 60-36 in favor of the proposal. President Obama signed the law on February 22. We are disappointed that resolution of the Medicare physician payment issue has been postponed until after the election.
MSNJ appreciates the support that we received from our representatives, among them: Congressmen Leonard Lance (R-7), Frank Pallone (D-6) and Scott Garrett (R-5) and Representative Rush Holt (D-12). A March meeting with Representative Jon Runyan (R-3) is anticipated. We will continue our efforts to repeal the SGR.