Senate Passes Budget Agreement with Three Month SGR Fix
The Senate passed both the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013, which the President is expected to sign into law. The House-passed bipartisan budget agreement provides sequestration relief for two years for defense and discretionary programs, and includes a three month SGR patch that prevents the 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut from being implemented.
It is unclear whether Congress will enact a permanent SGR fix before the three month fix expires. All three congressional authorizing committees have reported Medicare physician payment reform legislation that repeals the SGR and transitions physicians to a system that pays physicians based on quality and efficiency.
The AGA remains concerned over the proposed ten year freeze in payments in the proposal put forward by the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, as well as the budget neutral nature of the quality programs that pit physicians against one another instead of measuring physicians on their own improvement. The AGA will continue to express our concerns and we continue to meet with members of Congress to try and alter these provisions.
Top appropriators will begin working to determine funding for agencies like the NIH. AGA will continue to advocate that Congress make NIH and medical research funding a priority during this process.
AGA will continue to keep members updated on any new developments in these critical areas and continue to advocate for the future of research and practice of gastroenterology.