SGR Repeal: Are We There Yet?

U.S. Capitol By Leah Ralph, Manager, Provider Economics and Public Policy, ACCC

As ACCC members know, last week brought unprecedented momentum on an issue physicians and Congress have been struggling with for over a decade: repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR). Just days before the current SGR “patch” expired, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, legislation that would permanently replace the SGR formula with stable Medicare payment updates and encourage physicians to increasingly participate in alternative payment models. The bill builds on last year’s bipartisan, bicameral compromise that ultimately hit roadblocks when legislators struggled to find a way to pay for it.

The Senate was expected to take up the House bill, but on March 27, the chamber recessed for two weeks, leaving a very small window to consider the bill when they return on April 13.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the bill should move “very quickly” when the chamber comes back into session, and there is “every reason” to believe the bill will pass.

Meanwhile, the current “patch” expired March 31, and CMS has indicated that it will hold claims for two weeks, or 10 business days, through April 14.

We’re in the homestretch; we’re closer to a permanent fix to the SGR than we have ever been before. But are we there yet? Not quite. Now is the time to contact your Senators, and urge them to support passage of H.R. 2, to ensure that physicians have the predictable, appropriate payments they need to continue to provide high-quality cancer care.

Stay tuned. And make your voice heard. Contact your Senators today.

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