The American College of Physicians (ACP), representing 129,000 internal medicine physician and medical student members, today said it strongly supports the proposed provision in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R. 4213), to provide stable and positive Medicare payment updates to physicians. The measure begins moving to a new framework that could serve as the basis for permanently replacing the flawed and unworkable sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.
ACP President J. Fred Ralston, Jr., MD, FACP reacted by saying:
"Our understanding is that this provision will replace a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments scheduled for June 1 with a positive update that reflects increases in physician practice costs and provides more stability and predictability in payments through 2013.
"We are particularly pleased that for 2012 and 2013, the update for all physician services will be held to a growth rate that is higher than the current SGR formula, and that there will be an extra allowance for primary and preventive care, with a statutory guarantee that payments could not be reduced in 2012 or 2013. This policy, which is based on legislation (H.R. 3961) passed by the House of Representatives in November, recognizes the importance of ensuring that spending on all physician services be allowed to grow at a higher rate of growth than the unrealistic limits set by the SGR, while creating the opportunity to provide higher updates for under-valued primary care and preventive services.
"We believe that permanent repeal of the SGR remains essential. Although this provision falls short of repeal, we are committed to working with Congress to ensure that a new payment framework, including more appropriate spending targets for all services and increased allowances for primary care and preventive services, is permanently enacted into law before payments revert to the current law formula in 2014."