You can send a strong message to Congress to eliminate the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and establish new payment systems that support high-quality patient care by participating in a national call-in organized by the American Medical Association on March 5.
Call AMA's toll-free hotline, (800) 833-6354, March 5 to tell Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and your House member that you want SGR repeal, not another short-term payment patch for the 17th time.
Physicians and patients are closer than ever to reaching their long-sought goal. HR 4015, by Rep. Mike Burgess, MD (R-Texas), and S 2000, by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), represent the first bipartisan, bicameral legislation to replace the flawed Medicare physician payment update formula.
But Congress has very few days to establish a pathway and enact this legislation before the scheduled 2014 Medicare physician payment cut of 24 percent takes effect April 1.
AMA developed the following message points you can use when speaking to Congress members:
- The SGR is widely acknowledged to be a policy failure. Congress has been forced to intervene 16 times since 2003 to prevent steep payment cuts and preserve seniors' access to care.
- Now, a bipartisan, bicameral process involving three congressional committees has produced agreement on a new policy framework that repeals the SGR and creates a pathway to a higher-performing Medicare program.
- Repealing the SGR is the fiscally responsible choice. Congress has spent more taxpayer money on short-term payment patches that continue supporting this failed policy than it would cost to pass the legislation pending today.
- It's time to establish new payment methods that will support the health care delivery systems that Medicare patients and American taxpayers deserve.
- Congress must seize this opportunity and act before March 31, when the SGR calls for a 24-percent across-the-board cut in Medicare physician payments.
- Tell Congress it's time to pass HR 4015 and S 2000.
Additional supporting material can be found on the AMA's dedicated website.
Action, March 3, 2014