Monday, April 6, 2015

Senate Last Step for Permanent SGR Repeal

Drew Thies

The Senate is poised to vote on a permanent repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) after the House voted 392-37 to send it to the upper chamber. The bill, H.R. 2, implements a new payment system for doctors that supporters hope will end the annual battle to fund short-term “doc fixes.”

 Due to procedural hurdles and time constraints, the Senate was unable to vote on the measure after the House passed the bill Thursday morning. An all-day budgetary amendment process followed by a two-week holiday recess moved the SGR vote to the week of April 13th.

 Delaying the vote puts the Senate on a tight schedule, as CMS is currently holding Medicare claims that would result in a substantial cut to doctors’ reimbursement. The agency is allowed to hold the claims for 2 weeks after the March 31st expiration of the last SGR patch, leading to an April 14th cutoff.

Senate Leadership expressed faith the bill would be passed with a wide margin of support before recessing last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said “there’s every reason to believe it’s going to pass the Senate by a very large majority.” Minority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats are “hoping to get this done,” quipping about the delay early Friday morning, “I understand it’s late, whatever day it is.”

AHCA will continue to monitor the bill during recess and provide any updates.

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