U.S. House Passes Monumental SGR Reform in Landslide Vote — Bill Goes to Senate
CMA Applauds U.S. House of Representatives for Passing Monumental Medicare-CHIP Reform in Landslide Vote, Urges U.S. Senate to Act Swiftly
Today, March 26, the California Medical Association (CMA) congratulates the U.S. House of Representatives for passing monumental Medicare reform and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) extension, and urgently asks their colleagues in the Senate to do the same before spring recess. The 392–37 vote clearly shows that now is the time to make Medicare reform a reality.
The legislation, HR 2, known as the “The Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act,” will reform the broken Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment system and extend the expiring Children’s Health Insurance Program. Both of these important reforms will help to improve access to doctors in California for five million seniors on Medicare, one million military families on TRICARE and the nearly one million uninsured children currently covered by CHIP.
“It is imperative that the House AND the Senate act before the 21% SGR Medicare payment cut takes effect on March 31,” said Luther Cobb, MD, CMA president. “A drastic cut to physician payments will result in decreased access to care for some of our country’s most vulnerable patients. It’s crucial to the success of our healthcare delivery system that the bill pass before Congress goes home.”
The SGR legislation is nearly identical to the bipartisan, bicameral Medicare physician payment reform package that three congressional committees unanimously approved in the last Congress and more than 750 state and national physician organizations, including CMA, supported.
There are more than 1,000 new Medicare enrollees every day in California, yet many physicians are no longer accepting new Medicare patients.
“California desperately needs payment reform to improve access to physicians because Medicare influences all public and private health insurance,” added Dr. Cobb. “Patients are experiencing access to care problems all across the state and HR 2 will help alleviate some of that.”
With the new bipartisan agreement between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on how to fund the SGR fix, CMA is calling on Congress to immediately pass this monumental, fiscally responsible legislative achievement that will lead to meaningful improvements in our healthcare system.
The California Medical Association represents more than 40,000 physicians in all modes of practice and specialties. CMA is dedicated to the health of all patients in California.