(HealthDay)—The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee have passed their versions of the bill to repeal Medicare's failed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, according to a report from the American Medical Association (AMA).
A yearlong process preceded the votes, during which the committees listened to concerns from physicians and other stakeholders. The committees jointly crafted a bipartisan legislative proposal, which incorporated significant changes to the bills, based on recommendations from the AMA. These included a plan to consolidate and restructure existing quality improvement incentive programs in order to reduce the administrative and financial burden on physicians. The House Ways and Means Committee passed its version of the bill by 39 to 0. The Finance Committee passed its version of the bill in a nearly unanimous vote.
The AMA intends to continue to press Congress on the issue of including payment updates in the final legislation. Physicians who wish to voice their support for the SGR repeal can e-mail their members of Congress.
"Today's strong, bipartisan votes by the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees, following similar action last July by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, shows that there is overwhelming, bipartisan support for ending SGR in a fiscally responsible manner," Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., president of the AMA, said in a statement.