House Repeals SGR, Bill Moves to Senate

November 20, 2009

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The US House has agreed to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula by passing HR. 3961, also known as the "Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009." This bill now moves to the US Senate, which failed to pass a similar bill two weeks ago. If the Senate cannot get enough votes for a permanent repeal, Congress will have to take steps to pass a short-term measure to prevent a scheduled Medicare physician payment cut of 21 percent will go into effect on January 1, 2010.

Permanently repealing the flawed Medicare SGR formula continues to be a top priority for the Academy. With one hurdle passed, we are now one step closer to ending the cycle of annual patches and paving the way for predictable pay rates.

Though many Academy members responded to the recent Action Alert and those over the past several years, the work on this issue is not finished. It will be imperative that all members let the US Senate know that passing this legislation is essential. Look for an email from the "AAN Grassroots Network" to appear in your inbox when a vote is scheduled.

In the meantime, the Senate will be holding what they are calling a "test vote" over the weekend, which will address their most recent Healthcare Reform legislation. If 60 senators vote "yes," the chamber will begin debate on amendments after the Congressional Thanksgiving recess.

The Academy is still pursuing an amendment that would add neurology to the list of eligible specialties for the primary care incentive bonus. If the weekend vote goes through, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is expected introduce an amendment that will add "neurology" to section 5501, on page 1441.

Read the Senate bill.

Watch AAN.com for further updates.

For more information, contact Mike Amery, AAN Legislative Counsel, at mamery@aan.com.