Senate panel to discuss repealing SGR

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 - Congress, House, Senate

The Senate Finance Committee will meet Dec. 12 to review legislation to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the committee’s ranking member, scheduled the open session to consider a package of healthcare provisions, including the SGR. Unless overridden or repealed, the SGR will require a cut in physician payments of 24.4 percent starting Jan. 1.

For many years, Congress has voted to override the SGR but it has not attempted to fix what many physicians and lawmakers describe as a flawed formula.

Baucus and Hatch worked with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) on a draft outline that proposes to permanently repeal the SGR update. In addition, the proposal replaces the fee-for-service model of physician payment with a value-based program and places a greater emphasis on accountable care organizations and medical homes, among other changes.