MedPAC Head Pushes for SGR Repeal Now
Feb. 15—The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula—the physician payment formula for Medicare—should be repealed immediately, said Glenn M. Hackbarth, chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) in testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health.
By repealing the SGR now, Congress could stimulate physician interest in new payment models and thus accelerate their development and adoption, Hackbarth said. As it is now, the SGR is fundamentally flawed and is creating instability in the Medicare program for providers and beneficiaries, according to Hackbarth.
MedPAC recommends that Congress repeal the SGR system for three main reasons:
- The SGR system, which ties annual updates to cumulative expenditures, has failed to restrain volume growth and may have exacerbated it, because the SGR does not differentiate between physicians who restrain volume and physicians who do not.
- Temporary stop-gap fixes to override the SGR undermine Medicare’s credibility by engendering uncertainty and anger among physicians and other health professionals, and possibly anxiety among beneficiaries.
- The short-term overrides have led to an administrative burden for providers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services due to holding of claims, delays in submission of claims, and reprocessing of claims.
Meanwhile, proposed bipartisan legislation in the House also calls for repealing the SGR.
Publication Date: Friday, February 15, 2013