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AMA Ads Push for SGR Elimination

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 13, 2011

Wah says the super committee could actually provide the impetus for change that has been lacking in Congress in the 10-year battle over the SGR. "One thing that is different now is that the super committee has some things in its favor to expedite getting things done that we don't normally see in the standard process that Congress follows," Wah said.

"The fact that they don't have to be under the cloture rules or the filibuster or that business means that things can get done through the super committee process that we had not see get done in the regular process. This is a unique opportunity for Congress to fix what both parties have said they need to fix and finally fix permanently the SGR. This is an opportunity with the structure that is in place to get this done."

Wah acknowledges that eliminating the SGR would create a $300 billion hole in the budget. However, unlike the American Hospital Association, which last month suggested that Congress raise taxes or the Medicare eligibility age before it cuts hospital Medicare reimbursements, Wah says AMA is steering clear of any specific recommendations. "There is a list of options that have been identified by those groups that the super committee can look at to reduce the deficit and repeal the SGR," he says.

"As a physician I am interested in telling Congress what is best for my patients and my practice and I leave the decisions for how to accomplish that up to Congress. That's part of what they're elected to do."

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