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Shuster Votes for Permanent Doc Fix, Bringing Certainty to Physicians and Seniors

WASHINGTON– Today, with support from U.S. Representative Bill Shuster (R-Hollidaysburg), the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 4015, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014. This bipartisan measure permanently repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), delays the individual mandate and prevents a drastic cut in Medicare payments to doctors.

“The current Medicare payment system is simply no longer serving Pennsylvania’s seniors and doctors,” said Rep. Shuster. “We have spent millions in short-term fixes, but these measures fail to solve the problem. We cannot continue to burden these dedicated physicians with the uncertainty of not knowing how much they will be paid by Medicare each year, and our seniors need to be confident the system will cover the doctors they choose.” 

In 1997, Congress made an effort to slow Medicare spending by connecting physician pay to economic growth through the sustainable growth rate. This failed to achieve its goal, and Congress has been forced to pass nearly $150 billion in short-term patches. The current fix is set to expire on March 31 of this year.

The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act will do away with the flawed SGR formula and provide a long-term solution in the form of a single system to manage the disbursement of merit-based incentive payments. Over the next five years, it provides annual increases of 0.5 percent during the transition to the new system. The bill also reduces spending, fully paying for the repeal of the SGR through a delay of the individual mandate.

“This legislation represents a serious, bipartisan effort to reform the Medicare payment system,” said Rep. Shuster. “For too long doctors have been working under the uncertainty of temporary fixes, and this bill is an important step toward achieving real Medicare solutions. It will also grant relief to thousands of families and business from the burden of the individual mandate, which has caused hardship for countless people across Pennsylvania. I seriously hope that for the good of our seniors and doctors, President Obama and his Democrat-controlled Senate will put politics aside and join us in passing this crucial bill.”