Obama Signs SGR Replacement Bill, Halts 21% Physician Payment Cut

California Healthline

The Senate on Tuesday voted 92-8 in favor of the House-approved measure, which calls for providing a 0.5% annual payment increase through 2019 for providers who participate in Medicare and then transitioning to an incentive-based payment system designed to encourage participation in alternative payment models. The bill includes several other measures related to health spending, such as funding for community health centers, which serve low-income individuals in every state. In addition, the bill includes a two-year extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Further, the bill would delay fully enforcing CMS' so-called "two-midnight" rule for two months.

Overall, the SGR replacement measure would cost about $213 billion over 10 years. It would offset about $70 billion of the projected costs and add about $140 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years, according to estimates. The offsets include almost $35 billion in increased Medicare premiums for higher-income beneficiaries, which would not take effect until 2018. In addition, the bill includes payments cuts to home health agencies, hospitals and nursing homes (California Healthline, 4/15)...

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