Committee vote on SGR repeal measure expected Tuesday

A new system that provides incentives for quality and efficiency would replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula under a final bipartisan bill released by the House on Thursday, MedPage Today reports

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee is expected to vote on the bill Tuesday.  

Reimbursements would grow 0.5% per year between 2014 and 2018 before payments are based on quality-measure performance under the new Update Incentive Program, according to the article. An opt-out is provided for some alternative payment models.

Physician payments will be cut nearly 25 percent next year unless Congress acts by the end of the year, MedPage Today notes. Similar steep cuts are threatened every year, according to the publication.

"We remain steadfast in our goals for reform: a fair system for our seniors and their doctors that provides the highest quality of care; bipartisan support, achieved through a transparent, deliberative process; and paid for in a fiscally responsible manner," Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and health subcommittee chairman Joe Pitts, R-Pa., said in a joint announcement.

In the statement, ranking member Henry Waxman, D-Calif., called the legislation a "work in progress" to create a payment system that "rewards quality and efficiency and improves patient outcomes…"This is a process that has to start--we can't accept the current system any longer."

Republican lawmakers in April had updated the draft to include the period of stable payment updates before the new formula goes into effect in 2019. It also applied evidence- and specialty-based measures to determine quality and efficiency.

The legislation was introduced in February after the Congressional Budget Office slashed its estimate of how much repealing the SGR would cost, from $245 billion to $148 billion.

For more:
-read the MedPage Today report
-here's the final draft bill (.pdf)
-check out the committee announcement
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