HLM: But why has the momentum finally shifted toward permanent repeal?
ADH: Everybody is tired of having to deal with this on an annual basis. The concept is destabilizing the Medicare program [and that] is something that most people and members of Congress just cannot tolerate. Then, for the first time, we saw a significant fiscal change around repealing the SGR.
We have paid something like $146 billion over the last ten years just patching it and now the Congressional Budget Office is marking this at about $116 billion to replace it. The numbers are getting better. It's the fiscally responsible thing to do and members of Congress understand this.
HLM: How will the repeal of SGR be funded?
ADH: The AMA and physician leadership have been talking about policy and what we think is in the best interests of patients and the Medicare program. We understand the fiscal issues. We understand the pressures that members of Congress are under right now and their fiscal responsibilities as they manage that. We are going to have to entrust that to them, knowing that this is going to be difficult for them. But I am convinced that they are going to do this. I am very optimistic about this and I am anxious to see it through.