Health Subcommittee Advances Bipartisan SGR Replacement

July 23, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today advanced a draft, bipartisan proposal to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and replace it with a fair, stable, simplified system of physician payment in the Medicare program. After more than two and a half years of transparent and bipartisan work, today’s advancement brings Congress closer than ever to establishing a system that rewards physicians for delivering quality care to seniors with measures determined with the help of expert medical organizations. The new system would streamline the process to ease the administrative burden and provide certainty to Medicare physicians so their focus can lie solely on delivering the highest quality of care to America’s seniors.

Committee leaders remain committed to completing this bipartisan reform effort in a fiscally responsible manner and look forward to the swift consideration of the draft legislation by the full committee. Support continues to build from leading stakeholder organizations and physicians in Congress.

“The time of temporary fixes and kicking the can down the road has ended. The bipartisan committee draft we approved today permanently repeals the SGR and places us on a path to paying for innovation and quality, not volume of services, and puts doctors not bureaucrats, back in charge of medicine,” said Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA). “It is the first meaningful reform policy to repeal the SGR since it was created and a product of over two years of work by this committee.”

“This is the most transparent Medicare reform process undertaken by the committee, possibly ever, but certainly in my tenure. We solicited feedback from stakeholders at every step. We held hearing after hearing, including a legislative hearing in June. We worked in consultation with our colleagues on Ways and Means. We released two white papers and three legislative drafts. Each time we received feedback, compiled helpful and realistic suggestions and incorporated them into the product,” said Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), lead sponsor of the draft legislation.

“This legislation is over 15 years in the making, as the highly flawed SGR has frustrated patients, doctors, and lawmakers alike since its passage in 1997. We have made great progress in achieving this milestone but there is still much work left in achieving fiscally responsible reform that puts the emphasis back where it belongs – on our patients and their doctors. Today is an important step in finishing the bipartisan work that we began well over two years ago,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).

Read the complete draft legislation here. Read a summary of the draft here. Review major milestones in the committee's efforts to reform the SGR here.

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