CBO Analysis Renews Calls for SGR Repeal

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 7, 2013

The American Medical Association and other physicians' professional associations, weary of the annual Congressional sideshows and last minute repeals of looming SGR cuts, have for years made repeal of the mandate a top legislative priority. This week they were quick to line up behind the new CBO projections.

"The new cost of ending this problem is $138 billion, more than $100 billion below the previous projection and less than the $146 billion Congress has already spent on short-term patches to the SGR over the past decade," AMA President Jeremy Lazarus, MD, said in prepared remarks.

Anders M. Gilberg, senior vice president, government affairs, with the Medical Group Management Association, says the new estimates are a game changer that could finally lead to the permanent repeal of the decade-old SGR after years of stop-gap fixes and toothless threats of Medicare reimbursement cuts.  

"That is a significant shock to the environment in which we were having this discussion," Gilberg told HealthLeaders Media. "In Congress it is hard to say you are going to take a bill, drop it in and it is going to pass. But the climate for something like this has improved significantly because the impediment to passing this hasn't been the substance because there is near universal support for this. It was the cost. So, it's still a lot of money but that CBO report on is a significant catalyst. I don't think anyone has ever seen a drop like that—of $100 billion."

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