AMA Calls on the Debt Commission to Repeal the SGR Formula

The country’s largest medical society, the American Medical Association (AMA), has urged the bipartisan Debt Commission created by President Obama to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. AMA expressed its demands to members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. It requested that a proposal be sent to Congress to permanent repeal the SGR formula.

SGR is Medicare’s controversial method for setting physician reimbursement. Unless Congress intervenes, the SGR is currently scheduled to decrease by 23% on December 1st, an additional 6.5% in January 2011 and 2.9% more in 2012. Failure to repeal the SGR formula may force underpaid physicians to reject services to Medicare patients and military families under TRICARE coverage. “Physicians want to care for seniors and military patients, but we can’t keep our doors open to all patients when the government doesn’t cover the cost of providing that care,”said AMA board member Ardis Hoven, MD.

The Debt Commission was created through an Executive Order issued by the President on February 18th. The panel is responsible for identifying policies to improve the nation’s fiscal situation in the short term and achieve sustainability in the long term. The Commission will vote on a report containing recommendations before December 1st.