American Society of Hematology

ASH Calls on President, Congress to Make Medicare Payment Reform Part of Deficit Reduction Plans

Published on: June 28, 2011

ASH joined with 111 state and medical specialty societies and the American Medical Association (AMA) in sending a letter to the president and congressional leaders urging reform of the broken Medicare physician payment formula as part of any deficit reduction plan. This formula, known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), is set to trigger a drastic cut of nearly 30 percent on January 1 and threatens access to care for Medicare patients.

The letter states that the Medicare SGR formula should be repealed as part of the deficit reduction negotiations: “Any serious proposal to confront the fiscal challenges facing our nation, and the Medicare program in particular, must address the massive funding deficit caused by the repeated failure to replace the SGR.” Since 2002, the formula has called for an annual reduction in physician payments. Congress has had to intervene a dozen times since then to halt the cuts.

ASH has advocated for a three-pronged approach to reforming the physician payment system, including: repealing the failed SGR formula, implementing a period of stable Medicare physician payments, and testing demonstration and pilot projects that could form the basis for a new Medicare physician payment system.

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