House Votes to Pass Bill with One Year Medicare Payment Patch, No SGR Repeal

Wednesday evening, March 26, MSNJ wrote to the New Jersey congressional delegation urging them to vote NO on a bill that would provide  another Medicare payment patch, instead of permanently repealing the SGR. Yesterday morning, MSNJ joined the AMA in a similar letter to the House opposing the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014”  and advocating that the House enact the physician payment and delivery system reform policy contained in H.R. 4015/ S. 2000, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act. These bills have bipartisan support and provide a framework for sustainability for the Medicare program. The endless congressional cycle of short-term remedies that serve to support a failed policy are no longer acceptable.

Thursday, March 27, the House of Representatives debated H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which would postpone the imminent 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut for 12 months.  The debate took place under suspension of the rules, meaning that a two-thirds majority would be required for the bill to pass.  At the conclusion of the debate, an objection was raised about the absence of a quorum, and the vote was suspended. 

Then, shortly after noon, the House of Representatives quickly recommended and passed H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” on a voice vote.

The Senate could follow suit very quickly; the process for action there is still to be determined.

Read the statement of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made on the floor shortly after the House vote.

MSNJ is disappointed that the House has passed a bill with yet another temporary patch instead of repealing the SGR with legislation that has bicameral and bipartisan support.  We will continue to advocate for a permanent repeal of the SGR. Read AMA’s statement.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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