$128B SGR Repeal Deal Needs a Payment Plan

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media , February 10, 2014

With the extenders thrown in the mix, the SGR repeal deal would cost billions more, Manetto said. "I think the hope is they're going to try to get to a $150 billion mark," he said of a comprehensive doc fix deal.

Noting that early government data on certified accountable care organizations shows "some of the ACOs have returned very substantial savings," Alex Hunter, managing director of Chicago-based Navigant Consulting's healthcare practice, is optimistic that lawmakers and the healthcare industry can push the SGR repeal deal into law.

"This is the right time for collaboration," Hunter said. "I'm beginning to hear more and more from healthcare executives and doctors. They believe the opportunities to make an impact are substantial. More and more people are up to the challenge."

Joe Baker, president of the New York City-based Medicare Rights Center, likes the SGR repeal deal, but is more pessimistic about its prospects.

"We are encouraged that Congress appears committed to advancing a Medicare payment system centered on high-value care, as opposed to high-volume care," Baker said Friday in a prepared statement.

"Yet, we cannot evaluate the merits of this agreement in a vacuum. Congress has yet to make critical decisions about extenders policies of critical importance to people with Medicare and about how the SGR package will be paid for."

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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