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Time Is Running Out for Changes to Medicare Payment Formula

Lawmakers recently met with physicians groups to offer updates on their proposal to repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula, MedPage Today reports.

Congress is mulling over offering a temporary fix that would keep the approximately 24% Medicare pay cuts slated to start in 2014 at bay for at least three months. The short-term fix is designed to give legislators more time to address a permanent fix on the SGR, which is not favored by doctors.

The SGR change enjoys strong bipartisan support, but a sticking point remains in the latest proposal - no increase in Medicare payments for 10 years Physician groups have been asking Congress to provide some sort of pay increase in the bill.

The American College of Physicians in early December said it is “greatly encouraged” by the continued progress being made in Congress on the SGR issue and likes the recommendation that the GAO be required to study ways to better harmonize measures used by Medicare and private payers. 

Congress is scheduled to go on winter recess starting Dec. 13.

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