But the irony is that the longer Congress avoids a permanent solution, the greater toll the SGR formula extracts on the federal budget. “There is the underlying deficit that is something akin to $300 billion that needs to be dealt with first,” says Anders Gilberg, vice president of public and private economic affairs for the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). “This is the biggest impediment to long-term reform.”
So can we expect more of the same waffling next year when this most recent temporary fix runs out? Experts say it’s highly likely, though there are avenues that could serve as a permanent solution, including implementing a system that tracks some level of medical inflation to pay physicians for the real cost of delivering care.
But that still leaves the issue of how to pay for the collected Medicare reimbursement deficit racked up over the past decade. Vladeck, now a senior advisor with healthcare consulting firm Nexera, has his thoughts: “I suspect there will be a balanced budget act at which point I would hope [a permanent solution] be addressed since that is probably the best vehicle to pay for a fix.”