AAFP Dismayed at Congressional Failure to Pass Clean SGR Repeal

Monday, March 14, 2014

Statement attributable to:
Reid Blackwelder, MD  
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply disappointed the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act has become collateral damage in an ongoing dispute over unrelated budgetary policy.

“This legislation is the result of painstaking bipartisan and bicameral efforts to eliminate the costly, flawed Medicare payment formula that has threatened the health security of millions of elderly and disabled Americans. It would repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula, establish a five-year transition period with a 0.5 percent annual update, and provide incentives to physicians who participate in alternative payment systems such as the patient-centered medical home. The bill not only would end the annual, monthly or even bi-monthly patches that have destabilized the Medicare system and forced up costs of permanent solutions, but also would begin to support improvements in the delivery of health care.

“We’re dismayed that Congress sabotaged their own work by linking this legislation to unrelated, ideological issues—particularly in light of the nearly universal opposition to such action from patients, insurers and the medical community.

“Everyone agrees on the underlying policy of this legislation that repeals the SGR and replaces it with a payment system that emphasizes quality and improved health care.  It’s imperative that both parties come together to reach agreement on the budgetary payment that will pass both the House and the Senate before April 1.

“Without such action, Congress will regress to the time-consuming, expensive and destabilizing temporary patches that have threatened the health security of millions of their elderly and disabled constituents for more than 10 years.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Blackwelder, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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