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Society members urged to call Congress March 5 on SGR repeal

The Society, in partnership with the AMA and more than 100 other organizations, has been working to repeal Medicare’s flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and today, we are closer than ever to reaching this long-sought goal. But it’s critical that members of Congress hear from their physician constituents to push this issue over the top.

H.R. 4015, introduced by Rep. Mike Burgess, MD (R-TX) and S. 2000, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), represent the first bipartisan, bicameral legislation to replace the flawed Medicare physician payment update formula and establish new payment systems that will support high-quality patient care. But Congress has little time left before the scheduled 2014 Medicare physician payment cut of 24 percent takes effect April 1.

The Society and AMA are encouraging all members to participate in the AMA’s national Congressional call-in effort on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, to demonstrate their support and impress on Congress the urgency to act. According to AMA data, only 33 Wisconsin physicians have sent e-mails and just seven have made phone calls to Congress on this issue to date. (Click here to view a video appeal from AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD urging physicians to take action.)

Physicians can use the AMA’s toll-free hotline (1.800.833.6354) to contact their Congressional delegation to make the following points:

  • The SGR formula is widely acknowledged to be a policy failure.
    • Congress has had to intervene 16 times since 2002 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 establishes a path toward a higher-performing Medicare program.
  • Repealing the SGR is the fiscally responsible choice.
    • More money has been spent on short-term interventions that supported this failed policy than the cost of the legislation pending in Congress 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.
  • It’s time to pass H.R. 4015/S. 2000.

 
Additional supporting material can be found on the AMA’s dedicated website. Please join your colleagues in maintaining pressure on Congress to act on this vitally important legislation before time runs out.

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