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Congress on the Verge of Historic Medicare Vote

After 14 years and 17 temporary “patches” to prevent steep Medicare cuts, Congress is finally poised to vote on legislation that will permanently repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment formula. If Congress fails to act, physicians face a 21 percent pay cut on April 1, 2015. The problems with the SGR payment system are well-documented, and cuts of this magnitude will seriously threaten timely access to care. On March 26, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. H.R. 2 includes a number of key provisions that are essential to keep Medicare working for our nation’s seniors. These include:

  • Permanently repeals the SGR system;
  • Provides positive annual payment updates for five years;
  • Consolidates and streamlines the existing Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Electronic Health Record (EHR)/meaningful use, and Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM) penalty programs;
  • Rescinds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deleterious plan to eliminate 10- and 90-day global surgery payments; and
  • Extends insurance for children under the CHIP program.

The time has come to permanently repeal the SGR. To this end, featured below is a Neurosurgery Blog animation entitled, “Stop the Madness #FixSGR Once and For All.”

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