Medicare Physician Payment: It's Time for Real Reform

eAlert e703112c-1657-43b8-a90a-8bac961d346a

<p>Medicare physician fees are scheduled to be reduced by 27.4 percent on January 1, unless Congress acts to override that reduction or eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism that is used to determine the annual payment update. </p>
<p>In a <a href="/blog/2011/medicare-physician-payment-its-time-real-reform">new post</a> on The Commonwealth Fund Blog, Commonwealth Fund vice president Stuart Guterman says that Congress must no longer "kick the can down the road" by temporarily overriding the physician fee cuts but instead "must take the difficult but necessary step of repealing and replacing the SGR." </p>
<p>The SGR, he says, does not address underlying problems, including physicians' incentives under fee-for-service to increase the volume and intensity of services they provide, nor does it control spending growth. Guterman calls for fundamental reform that increases payment for primary care and promotes high-quality, patient-centered care. </p>
<p>"The Affordable Care Act includes provisions that aim to achieve each of these goals, and the challenge falls to us to implement these reforms effectively to improve the performance of our health system," he writes. <br /><br /></p>