In a 238-181 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed HR 4015, a bill to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) and put in place a replacement payment system with an amendment offered by House Republican leaders that would pay for the repeal through a five-year delay of the Affordable Care act's individual mandate penalty.
Though cheered by House Republicans, the legislation is viewed as "dead on arrival" by policy analysts and health care providers, as its defeat in the U.S. Senate is a near certainty. The move is seen as purely a political move that is not likely to go anywhere beyond the House floor.
Although there is bipartisan, bicameral support for the SGR repeal, there is no consensus on how to pay for it. House Democrats, meanwhile, attempted amendments in the Rules Committee to add unspent military funds from Iraq and Afghanistan as the funding source, but those motions were defeated. If the funding proposals are not settled soon, Congress may adopt another temporary nine month patch to stop the 24 percent SGR cuts.
The California Medical Association (CMA) continues to urge Congress to go back to the negotiating table and find bipartisan funding sources. CMA is opposing another nine month patch. CMA is calling upon Congress to FIX MEDICARE NOW!
On Wednesday, the Senate Leader, Harry Reid, filed a motion to consider the Senate’s identical version of the Medicare legislation, S. 2000 after they return from recess. Like the House bill, the Senate legislation does not include a bipartisan way to pay for the legislation.
The House and Senate have decided to take a one week recess next week and will not be returning to Washington, D.C. until Monday, March 24. We are at a crucial juncture in the process, and encourage all physicians to call, email and meet with their representatives while they are in the state to let them know that a bipartisan payment solution for the bill needs to be negotiated.
CMA continues to fight to get the bipartisan, bicameral Medicare SGR legislation with the California locality update across the goal line before March 31. CMA and the American Medical Association (AMA) have sent letters to House and Senate leadership letting them know that a nine-month patch is unacceptable.
To overcome the opposition, Congress needs to hear from a large volume of physicians. Tell congress to pass a Medicare SGR bill with a bipartisan funding source and to oppose anther one-year patch.
Please make as many calls and send as many emails as possible. Everyone makes a difference! We are asking physicians to call/email the following individuals:
To contact members of Congress:
Call AMA’s Grassroots Hotline, (888) 434-6200, to be connected with your members of Congress in Washington. You will be asked to enter your zip code and select your representative. You are also encouraged to call your representatives in their local district offices.
You may also email your federal legislators via the AMA's "Fix Medicare Now" grassroots website. Physicians can use the sample letter provided on the page, it takes no more than two minutes.
Physicians can ask their patients to take a "Fix Medicare Now" flyer and call their representatives, too.
Visit the CMA’s grassroots action center for more information, including talking points and legislator contact information.
Earlier this year, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the revised Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 1500 claim form (version 02/12 OMB control number 0938-1197). The CMS 1500 claim form is the required format for submitting paper claims to Medicare. As of April 1, 2014, CMS will no longer accept paper claims on the old form. Until then, CMS is accepting both the old and new forms.
The revised form adds the following functionality:
Physicians should note that while the new claim form includes fields for ICD-10 codes in preparation for the transition in October 2014, practices should continue to submit only ICD-9 codes until notified otherwise by payors.
Contact: CMA's reimbursement helpline (888) 401-5911 or email@example.com.
Medicare SGR Repeal and Payment Reform: HR 4015/S 2000
DON'T PATCH IT, REPEAL IT!
Physicians: Call Congress Now! (800) 833-6354 (Takes 2 minutes).
Reform won't happen unless Congress hears from thousands of physicians!
Click here to learn more.