From 2003 through 2013, Congress has enacted 15 separate laws to prevent SGR-driven pay cuts, but there could be a change on the horizon. In a news release, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the new chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, stated that he wants to work with the House Energy and Commerce Committee to craft legislation to permanently repeal the SGR and, “Replace it with a reliable physician reimbursement formula that rewards quality." Rep. Jim McDermott, MD (D-Wash.), a psychiatrist who takes over as the subcommittee's top Democrat, also is interested in repealing the SGR.
“It is too early to tell if an SGR repeal is going to be a reality,” said Shirlyn Adkins, JD, AANEM executive director. “Two other attempts to eliminate it have failed in the past, maybe the third time will be the charm!”
Brady also is focusing on cutting the unnecessary overhead costs in healthcare. The news release noted that administrative overhead is estimated to be 25-30%. Brady wants to lower those costs to 10% within five years. Brady asked, “Can you imagine the benefit to America’s health care system if we can significantly shift paperwork costs to patient care and cost savings?” Let’s hope he succeeds.