CHA News Article

House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees Propose Replacing SGR

The House Ways and Means Committee today released legislative language to repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR), the formula for Medicare payments to physicians. The current formula has recommended drastic payment reductions that have required legislative action each year to block the cuts. This year, Congress has made a concerted effort to recast the SGR with quality and other measures that should preclude the annual draconian cuts. A date has not been set for consideration of the legislation, attached along with a summary, but the committee is expected to meet before Congress adjourns on Dec. 13. The Senate Finance Committee, scheduled to consider its plan on Dec. 12, has also released its chairman’s mark (attached).

The draft proposal does not contain information on how to finance the new SGR, expected to cost more than $100 billion over 10 years. The financing mechanisms are the key issue for hospitals. Historically, Medicare payments to hospitals have been reduced to help pay for changes in the SGR. CHA opposes that practice and continues to advocate for alternative financing.