Final Weeks of Congressional Recess, Work To-Do in 2012

During these final weeks of the Congressional District Work Period, many NCMS members may have the opportunity to meet with or talk to their congressman or senators about the issues that remain unaddressed in Congress this year.

Repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula:

  • This must be done by December 31 to avoid a nearly 30 percent payment cut to physicians who see Medicare patients.
  • There have been 14 short term patches to the SGR in the last 10 years. This creates uncertainty for both physicians and patients, threatening access to critical care.

Private Contracting:

  • Ask your legislator to co-sponsor and support the passage of H.R. 1700 and S. 1042, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act.
  • This legislation creates a new Medicare option that allows patients and physicians to enter into private contract arrangements without penalties to either party.
  • H.R. 1700/S. 1042 eliminates the two-year opt-out requirement for physicians, allowing them to enter into contracts on a case by case basis.
  • Beneficiaries could use their Medicare benefits to see physicians who do not accept Medicare, rather than pay out of pocket, as required by current law. Physicians would be required to disclose fees up front and a contract cannot get in the way of emergency care.

With the conventions upon us and election day just around the corner, there may appear to be a lack of motivation by Congress to enact effective changes to our health care system. However, in the final months of 2012 there is still important work to be done on behalf of both patients and physicians.


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