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SGR Ripe for Repeal

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 11, 2013

The cost of repealing the sustainable growth rate formula is $106 billion less than a year ago. Lawmakers have been holding hearings and stakeholder suggestions are pouring in. Is this the year a doc fix bill will be passed?

The cost of repealing the sustainable growth rate formula is practically at fire sale prices. The Congressional Budget Office put a $138 billion price tag on its most recent 10-year score for repealing the SGR. That's $106 billion less than its 2012 score and just the kind of savings that will resonate with the constituents back home.

Around Capitol Hill there's a lot of talk about seizing what Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, likes to call "this window of opportunity." One House bill has been formally presented to repeal and replace the SGR. Three more pieces of legislation—one from the Senate and two from the House—are expected.

And at least three influential Congressional committees—Senate Finance, House Ways and Means, and House Energy & Commerce—have held hearings for stakeholders to present their ideas on how best to replace the SGR. In addition, the chairs of Senate Finance and House E&C committees have asked hundreds of stakeholders to submit in writing specific recommendations for repealing and replacing the SGR.

But while there is movement toward a resolution, momentum is elusive.

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