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Medicare’s sustainable growth rate should be repealed, Iowa Rep. Latham says

This news story was published on March 16, 2014.
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WASHINGTON – Iowa Representative Tom Latham said Sunday that Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) should be repealed.

The SGR specifies the formula for establishing yearly sustainable growth rate targets for physicians’ services under Medicare. The use of SGR targets is intended to control the growth in aggregate Medicare expenditures for physicians’ services.

Rep. Tom Latham

Rep. Tom Latham

For too long, our nation’s seniors have been forced into a position where their health care provider’s uncertainty has caused them to stop seeing those who use Medicare. In rural states like Iowa, this involves a majority of patients and reduced health care options and choices is just as problematic as health care denied.

The nation’s Medicare program has been using the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system that was enacted in 1997 to attempt to control health care spending. This system has failed to work as it was intended and it has caused American taxpayers to continually lose access to the Medicare healthcare program that they have been paying into their whole lives and plan to rely on for retirement security.

This is wrong and the SGR needs to be repealed.

This past Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 4015, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014. This bi-partisan solution prevents a 24% cut in Medicare payments to health care providers and rewards them for high quality service.

The legislation provides for a final SGR “fix” and replaces the Medicare health care provider reimbursement system by moving it towards a quality – not quantity – of service based system. This policy reforms the short term patches from years of pushing the problem down the road and transitions to a new common sense system based on rewarding health care provider performance, alternative payment models, and expands the use of Medicare data for transparency and quality improvement.

The House passed solution is also fiscally responsible because it is fully paid for by delaying the individual mandate tax penalty in President Obama’s new health care law for the next five years. This delay results in a nearly $21 billion net deficit reduction according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

I have always favored and worked for a permanent solution to this problem that repeals or replaces the flawed SGR formula. As a co-sponsor of this legislation, my hope is that the United States Senate will understand the importance of this legislation to America’s seniors and the stability of the Medicare health care program on which they rely.

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11 Responses to Medicare’s sustainable growth rate should be repealed, Iowa Rep. Latham says

  1. Mediator Reply Report comment

    March 17, 2014 at 11:28 am

    How does delaying a mandate penalty generate money?

    How does what we pay for services compare with other countries which have equal or better medical care? (we are quite a ways down the list should anyone think we have the best system)

    Is this just a ploy to delay the mandate with the hopes that this will continue to hurt the roll out? It’s already got enough troubles without piling on.

    Is Latham just playing games?

  2. LVS Reply Report comment

    March 17, 2014 at 10:02 am

    What he says here is very true. It is starting to be hard to find doctors who will accept medicare and for most seniors that is all that is available. Obama has stolen from medicare to the point there is less and less left for the people who paid for it and are still paying.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

      How has Obama “stolen” anything?

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        March 17, 2014 at 10:43 am

        Are you blind or deaf? and 7 billion last year and more this year.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          March 17, 2014 at 10:59 am

          The article speaks or abandoning the SGR system that was put in place during the Clinton Administration and used during the 8 years of the Bush administration. I don’t think I am the one here that needs their vision or hearing checked.

          • LVS

            March 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

            How how does that explain the 7 billion dollars Obama’s Administration stole from Medicare last year and are now trying to take away seniors advantage. You may not be hard of hearing but you sure are asleep.

          • Anonymous

            March 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

            Where do you think medicare money comes from in the FIRST place? It was “stolen” long ago. If you are getting upset because your government is breaking a promise, I am not the one asleep.

          • Maybe

            March 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm

            They call anybody that does not kiss Obama’s a$$ a racist but actually they are the racist because they do kiss his a$$ only because of his color. They also think that if they disagree with him they will be called a racist so they do everything they can to back him up. I hope Obama uses a condom because we’ve been screwed.

          • Mediator

            March 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm

            Is this the same $700 Billion that wasn’t really stolen here?


          • LVS

            March 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

            @Mediator-call it what you want but they damn sure took it away from the seniors and stuck it in them at the same time. You liberals can make all the excuses you want but that does not change a thing. And, I don’t believe anything I see on a lying left wing site so save your energy and quit posting them.

          • Mediator

            March 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm

            I post those links in hopes that you will read them and consider them, but ultimately, I am posting them for those who may otherwise believe what you’ve stated as if fact.

            It’s not a waste of time, it’s informing the public. If you don’t want to be informed, that’s your decision.