Statement attributable to:
Molly Cooke, MD, FACP
President of the American College of Physicians (ACP)
Washington, March 7, 2014 — After many months of hard work, the congressional committees with jurisdiction over Medicare have reached bipartisan agreement on a bill to repeal the broken Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/S. 2000). Yet, this historic bipartisan opportunity to eliminate the SGR, once and for all, is at risk of being upended because of partisan disagreements on how to address the budget impact of SGR repeal and on other policies unrelated to the SGR itself. If either political party or chamber decides on its own to attach provisions to the bill that are unacceptable to the other, it would kill any chance for SGR repeal.
Congress knows that it is it is counterproductive for either the House or the Senate, Republicans or Democrats, to tie the bipartisan bicameral SGR repeal bill to other policies that do not have the bipartisan support needed to pass both chambers, and be signed into law by the President.
Today, we call on House and Senate leadership to immediately engage in a bipartisan process to reach bipartisan agreement on a budgetary solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, mirroring the bipartisan, bicameral process that produced agreement on the SGR replacement policies contained in H.R. 4015 and S. 2000, as agreed to by the committees. We believe that such a bipartisan agreement can and must be reached in time for Congress to pass this legislation, before the current patch expires on April 1.
We cannot support linking SGR repeal to changes in current law that will result in fewer people getting health insurance coverage.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 137,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.