SGR repeal passes House, with strings attached

A bill to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) and improve Medicare payments for physicians passed the House of Representatives today, but an amendment to delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty likely means the legislation is dead on arrival in the Senate.

The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act passed the House in a 238-181 vote largely along party lines; just 12 Democrats voted for the legislation.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) inserted the amendment likely to derail the bill once it reaches the Democrat-controlled Senate. Camp’s amendment would push back penalties tied to the individual insurance mandate until 2019.

It’s unclear where efforts to repeal the SGR will head next, though the president of the American Medical Association (AMA), Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, issued a statement saying the AMA will continue to work with legislators to craft a bill acceptable to both chambers of Congress and the president.

“Continuing the cycle of kicking the can down the road through temporary patches in the months ahead simply wastes more taxpayer money to preserve a bad policy of Congress’ own making,” said Hoven.