SGR fix carries $174.5B price tag, CBO says
Written by Ayla Ellison Twitte
Replacing Medicares sustainable growth rate formula, as proposed in bipartisan legislation last year, would cost $174.5 billion from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal 2025, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.Through the two identical pieces of legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate and House in 2014, lawmakers are attempting to implement a permanent replacement to the SGR. The SGR is a heated topic in the healthcare industry, and Congress has passed several delays in recent years to push back Medicare reimbursement reductions to physicians that are scheduled to occur under the SGR.Although the SGR has drawn a great deal of criticism, there is not consensus in the industry regarding how problems with the SGR should be resolved. For instance, the American Hospital Association believes there needs to be a permanent fix to the SGR and supports the overall goal of the bipartisan legislation. However, the legislation does not include suggestions for how the costs of the proposed fixes will be covered, and the AHA released a statement in January saying it “cannot support any proposal to fix the physician payment problem at the expense of funding for services provided by other caregivers.” In February, the AHA and nine other hospital groups sent a letter asking Congress to oppose any legislation that includes additional Medicare payment cuts to hospitals to fix the SGR.