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The Confluence of the Sustainable Growth Rate and the Deficit

April 13, 2011 | No Comments
Posted by Frank Ciesla

Last Thursday, the Commissioners of the Medical Advisory Commission recommended that the Sustainable Growth Rate (“SGR”) formula be scrapped and that the 300 plus billion dollars (the cost of getting rid of the SGR) be written off.  This suggestion appears to be based upon the fact that Congress has been unable or unwilling to come up with a methodology for off-setting the reductions in payments to physicians, as well as a recognition by Congress that cutting physician payments in a manner consistent with the SGR formula would result in the inability of seniors to be able to obtain physician care under Medicare.

While the recommended write-off of the 300 billion dollar amount may be a recognition  that Congress cannot keep putting off a resolution of the SGR issue, this is a simplistic proposal in light of the focus today in Washington on deficit reduction.  Adding $300 billion to the national debt while simultaneously developing a debt reduction proposal appears to be unrealistic.  However, the SGR will continue to be an issue that physicians and the government need to face until it is resolved.  Therefore, this is an issue which will keep rearing its ugly head until it is resolved.

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