Anatomy of an Advocacy Triumph

Here's a Look Back at How the AAFP and Its Members Defeated the SGR

April 15, 2015 11:09 am News Staff

It took 12 years and 17 temporary payment patches at a cost of nearly $170 billion, but Congress finally stepped up to the plate this week by repealing Medicare's long-reviled sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

The AAFP and its members had a big role in making that happen. 

For years, Academy leaders, staff and individual members worked tirelessly with lawmakers in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle to secure passage of legislation that would permanently repeal the SGR and begin moving physician payment away from strictly fee-for-service and toward alternative payment models that reward value over volume. Proposals have come and gone during that time; it was only recently that momentum really started to build behind the idea of ending the painful cycle of repeated last-minute congressional interventions to forestall annual SGR-mandated pay cuts.

Congressional support was high last year for the bipartisan SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act(, but lawmakers ultimately failed to agree on a plan to pay for the bill. That all changed on April 14, however, when the 114th Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act(

No easy road, to be sure. Here's just a smattering of AAFP News stories from the past few years showing what it took to reach this goal.