Lawmakers unveil $210 billion SGR fix

A bipartisan effort to fix the troublesome Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula finally bore fruit Thursday, as House and Senate leaders introduced legislation that would stop automatic Medicare cuts to doctors, The Hill reports.

Lawmakers attempted to engineer a similar fix to the widely unpopular SGR formula last year, but because of disagreements about how to pay for it, they instead settled for another short-term patch, FierceHealthcare has reported. That patch is set to expire March 31--causing a 21.2 percent cut to providers' Medicare reimbursements if Congress took no action--a scenario neither lawmakers nor healthcare groups wanted to come to fruition.

The total cost of the fix would be $210 billion, only $70 billion of which would be offset, and the high price tag may make the legislation difficult to pass, The Hill reported.

But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has been working with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the fix, expressed optimism at a press conference Thursday.

"I'm not going to say we've got it all resolved yet, but I'm optimistic that we will," Boehner said, according to the newspaper. "There was an opportunity that presented itself to work in a bipartisan way to find the appropriate offsets. And the door opened and I decided to walk into it."

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