House Committee unanimously advances Medicare payment reform bill

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently approved the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act, which would offer a permanent fix to the Medicare payment model used to reimburse doctors.

The committee voted 51-0 to approve the bill that addresses flaws in the current Medicare payment system, known as the sustainable growth rate.

The bill was authored by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and guided by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the committee chair, and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-Mich.). The legislation also benefited from input offered by expert medical organizations and doctors who have first-hand experience with the SGR payment system and its shortcomings.

“[This bill] remedies this ailing physician payment system while encouraging the highest quality of care for Michigan’s seniors,” Upton said. “It gives seniors the peace of mind of knowing that their trusted physician will be there for them by securing stable payments for doctors. It also provides physicians the security they need to care for their patients by removing the specter of a practice-killing 25 percent across-the-board pay cut.”

“Today’s action to repeal the broken sustainable growth rate and replace it with a fair and stable system of payments will bring much-needed certainty to the medical community and improved high quality care to America’s senior citizens,” Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee said. “I am proud to have been part of this bipartisan effort.”