Bennet: SGR Fix Must Be Top Priority When Senate Returns

Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today called on the Senate to quickly take up a bill to provide long-term certainty for Medicare providers and patients. The bill, which passed the House yesterday 392-37, repeals the formula, known as the "sustainable growth rate" or SGR, for how Medicare providers are reimbursed for services and replaces it with a streamlined payment system based on the quality of care.

"This is important legislation we need to pass quickly to give doctors and seniors some peace of mind going forward. The House passed it with broad, bipartisan support. And while no bill is perfect, the Senate could have acted last night to get something done before we left," Bennet said. "This bill will give our doctors and seniors long-term certainty and put an end to the vicious cycle of passing short-term fixes that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars."

Over the past decade, Medicare physician spending has exceeded the targets set by the SGR, resulting in the need for payment cuts under the formula. In order to avert these cuts and maintain services for Medicare patients, Congress has spent nearly $150 billion on short-term overrides during that time. This bill transitions from the current volume-based payment system to one that rewards quality, efficiency, and innovation.

The bill also includes a provision that Bennet previously authored in the Senate Finance Committee to expand access to Medicare claims data. It will help evaluate doctor and hospital performance and find innovative, more effective, and less expensive ways to offer health care to beneficiaries.

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