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SGR Dangles Over Fiscal Cliff

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, December 20, 2012

Elimination of the SGR doesn't fully resolve all the fiscal problems as far as physicians are concerned, and the government must confront funding gaps that must be restored. The AMA has estimated that eliminating the SGR and freezing physician payments from Medicare over 10 years would cost $245 billion, based on Congressional Budget Office reports.

While the SGR is a target of physician groups, there is still a possibility that some doctors may face salary cuts, depending on their specialty, regardless of whether the formula is eliminated.  

Cain concedes that "payment enhancement" for primary care physicians is needed, and the "difference between specialty and primary care pay needs to be narrowed in order to have the highest quality" care.

Still, the SGR's got to go, Cain says.

"You're hearing a very strong physician community fed up with this," Cain says of the SGR. "The sword of Damocles is over our heads," Cain says.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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