After 17 temporary fixes and years of tireless efforts on the part of many of ACEP members, the Senate passed legislation Tuesday night to permanently replace the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment system that rewards quality, efficiency, and innovation (H.R.2).
I want to thank Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate for their leadership in securing passage of this historic legislation, which ends a 13-year annual bandage approach to preventing steep financial cuts to Medicare physician payments.
As president of ACEP, I want to thank you—the thousands of ACEP members who over many years responded to our grassroots alerts, came to Washington, D.C., and made thousands of Hill visits and to the staff of ACEP’s public affairs office in Washington.
—Michael J. Gerardi, MD, FAAP, FACEP
ACEP has long advocated for an end to the fiscally irresponsible cycle of annual short-term patches—and at long last, Congress has achieved it. This legislation will stabilize America’s Medicare system and protect access to medical care by the Medicare patients, including the 78 million baby boomers who will enroll over the next few years.
This new system is essential to emergency departments, because elderly patients are more likely to need emergency care than any other age group, and the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is people over 85 years of age.
It represents a significant accomplishment for all the emergency physicians who actively made their voices heard in Congress.
The legislation also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides affordable health care insurance for children in low-income families. This two-year extension is crucial to ensuring that our youngest and most vulnerable patients have access to health care.
As president of ACEP, I want to thank you—the thousands of ACEP members who over many years responded to our grassroots alerts, came to Washington, D.C., and made thousands of Hill visits and to the staff of ACEP’s public affairs office in Washington. Without their collective efforts, this tremendous achievement might not have been realized.
The SGR formula was adopted by Congress in 1997 to limit overall Medicare expenditures for physician (and other practitioner) services resulting from growth in the volume of those services. Temporary fixes to the SGR were required 17 times since the first reductions in physicians’ Medicare payments began in 2002.