Tuesday, March 17, 2015

House Leadership Mulls Permanent Doc-Fix Options

Drew Thies
Plans for an estimated $200 billion deal to permanently replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) emerged early this week after talks between the offices of Republican Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. House Republicans expect a final deal on the floor within a week but final details are still being worked out.

Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI), and Health Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-PA) expect to address the permanent doc-fix deal after the House passes a budget this week.

Congress will have to pass legislation addressing the SGR by March 31 to avoid a 24% cut in physicians’ Medicare reimbursements.

Though details of the package are still not final, Pitts said that about $70 billion is paid for in the legislation itself, adding that the extra $130 billion would be addressed through spending cuts in the budget resolution.

"For years, the SGR has distorted Medicare's finances and the federal budget. We're now very close to permanently replacing it and passing some real Medicare reforms that will have a lasting impact,” Pitts said in a statement.

Also included in the deal is a two-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and two years of various Medicaid extenders.

AHCA is supportive of a permanent fix, but only one that does not use skilled nursing and assisted living as an offset. We are actively working with Congressional offices on the final language of the deal ensure that skilled nursing is adequately and fairly represented in any permanent SGR fix.

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