Doc Fix Bill Introduced

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (Penn.) and Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.) recently introduced the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act” (H.R. 574) that would permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula associated with reimbursement rates paid to physicians who see Medicare and TRICARE patients. Under that formula, Medicare/TRICARE physician reimbursements are to be cut by 30 percent on January 1, 2014 – a move that may force many providers to stop seeing Medicare and TRICARE patients.The bill proposes to maintain the 2013 payment levels until December 31, 2014, and thereafter, rates would be adjusted over a five-year transition period. The intended result is a more predictable payment system (“Doc Fix”) to be fully implemented by 2019.

Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their representatives to support this bipartisan legislation.

In related news, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced this week that the committee will work to approve a bill to change the Medicare/TRICARE physician payment system and bring it to the House floor for a vote before the August recess. The panel’s Health Subcommittee held a hearing this week on discuss ways of building a new system to reimburse physicians who see Medicare/TRICARE patients.

FRA continues to advocate for a permanent resolution that access to quality health care services is not compromised for TRICARE and Medicare beneficiaries.