Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Victory for Medicare Patients! Congress Finally Repeals Flawed Physician Payment Formula

It’s a great day for Medicare and TRICARE patients and the physicians who care for them. Hours before deadline yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to finally repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula used to pay physicians who care for senior citizens, military families, and Texans with disabilities. President Obama promised to sign the bill into law.

“An immense weight has been lifted from the shoulders of American medicine,” said Austin I. King, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association. “On behalf of 48,000 physician and medical student members of TMA, I extend my sincere thanks to the United States Senate — especially our own Sen. John Cornyn — for taking this momentous step.”

Every year for the past 13 years, the SGR threatened massive cuts to physician Medicare payments, making it extremely difficult for physicians to pay for office space and other expenses and avoid staff layoffs. The cuts endangered access to care for Texas’ 3.2 million Medicare patients and 870,000 military family members, as well as the jobs of more than 265,000 employees of medical practices.

“Eliminating the constant threat of Medicare payment cuts means that we can focus our energies on improving this new law,” said Dr. King. “We can focus our energies on removing bureaucratic impediments that get in the way of good patient care. We can focus our energies on enacting substantive and fundamental Medicare reforms that will help us provide life-saving, life-sustaining, and life-enhancing care to our senior citizens, military families, and Texans with disabilities.

“The entire TMA family sends, in particular, a warm and most heartfelt appreciation to U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess, MD, and Kevin Brady and to Senator Cornyn. Their determination and grit over the past two years, obtaining bipartisan agreement on the policy, have made this day possible.”

You can read Dr. King’s full statement here.

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