Senate approves bill to repeal SGR
The Senate Tuesday night overwhelmingly passed a bill to do away with the controversial Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, a mechanism used to calculate Medicare payments to physicians.
The vote, 92-8, took place at 9:40 p.m., dangerously close to a midnight deadline when payment cuts of 21 percent were due to take effect unless the Senate approved the legislation.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers drafted the proposed $214 billion "doc fix" legislation in late March and the bill passed the House of Representatives in a 402-12 vote. Despite the support of physician lobby groups and trade associations, many have expressed concerns with the costs of the repeal and lack of details. A recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services report casts doubt on the bill's value as a long-term solution to physician reimbursement problems and indicated that Congress will likely have to pass further legislative fixes in the future.
Prior to the vote, which only required a simple majority, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the bipartisan legislation a "monumental achievement." And Sen Ron Wyden (D Ore.) referred to the repeal as a milestone for Medicare, one that finally retired an "outdated, common sense-defying reimbursement system."
Look for more details about the Senate vote and what it means for providers in Wednesday's FierceHealthcare.
Senate set to vote on SGR bill amendments as CMS warns proposal is not enough
Potential SGR repeal insurrection brews in Senate
Is the proposed SGR fix too vague to work?
No Senate SGR fix vote until mid-April
Obama administration launches partnership to speed transition to value-based care
House unveils details of permanent SGR fix, but hurdles remain
Why healthcare providers can't back down on SGR repeal
Lawmakers unveil $210 billion SGR fix