House committee approves SGR bill

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 31 voted 51-0 to approve a bipartisan bill that repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), provides a period of stable payment updates, and moves towards a payment system that rewards physicians for providing high quality care. After more than a decade of "kicking the can down the road" by enacting temporary fixes, this is a major step towards establishing a Medicare payment system that values high quality, patient-centered care.

Over the course of the last few months, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), along with numerous other physician organizations, has worked closely with the committee to ensure that this legislation provides a sustainable pathway towards improving patient care while rewarding many of the quality initiatives undertaken by the entire cardiovascular care team.

While the legislation is on the right track, the bill could be significantly improved before final passage. The ACC offered numerous suggestions for improvement in a letter sent to the committee in July and will continue to offer guidance to key committee members and staff as the legislation moves forward. The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are also in the process of developing frameworks for repealing the flawed formula.