MedPAC votes for SGR repeal, specialists disapprove

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has approved a replacement to the 15-year-old sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula for physicians, although pushback is already occurring among specialists and other clinicians, reports MedPage Today.

The SGR would be replaced by a decade-long payment freeze to primary care physicians, along with a 5.9 percent annual payment cut to specialists for three consecutive years, followed by seven years of frozen payments.

"[W]e cannot support this plan in its present form because it retains many of the SGR's flaws, undermines physicians' ability to participate in payment and delivery reforms and calls for payment rates that the Commission itself has previously said could reduce Medicare beneficiaries' access to medical care," said a letter sent to MedPAC under the signature of a variety of lobbying groups representing specialists, including the American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians, and American Psychiatric Association.

The American Medical Association denounced the measure in a separate statement issued by its president, Peter Carmel.

The proposal does have some provider support, most notably from the National Coalition on Health Care.

For more:
- read the MedPage Today article
- here's the letter to MedPAC (.pdf)