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SGR is Finally on its Way Out. Maybe.

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, November 7, 2013

"Congress must ensure stability in physician reimbursement and avoid any cuts that jeopardize the nation's teaching hospitals and the ability of their physicians to provide Medicare beneficiaries with timely access to care," The Association of American Medical Colleges' President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, said in a statement.

With the actions of the Senate committees, lawmakers have shown more progress in ditching the SGR than seen in the past decade, says Anders M. Gilberg, senior VP, government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association's Washington, DC office.

"The bottom line is you can go to (Capitol) Hill any day and get unanimous support for repealing the SGR. I'm not aware of any member of Congress not opposed to repealing the SGR," Gilberg says.

Details To Work Out
So, is this for real? Yes. But…

"It's for real in the sense people have put their cards on the table with respect to the policy alternative. What's not real is how to pay for it," Gilberg says. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated it would cost at least $139 billion over the next decade to get rid of the SGR. When another House committee passed a repeal bill in July, the estimated cost was estimated at $175 billion.

"The prospects for repeal this year is largely up in the air. What's going on are a lot of political crosswinds that can derail the success of an SGR bill this year," such as budget deficits.

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