The House of Representatives passed bipartisan bill H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, on March 26.  This bill repeals the unfavorable Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that has been steadily presenting cuts to Medicare payments each year.

According to an advocacy alert from the American Society of Anesthesiologists website, this legislation included provisions allowing physicians to receive a 0.5 percent update for the first five years of the law and a new system called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS is executed. MIPS is a program that will not begin until 2019. This legislation will allow for physician involvement in Alternative Payments Models (APM).

The House of Representatives final vote was 392-37.  The Senate will vote on this legislation when they return the week of April 13, 2015.  President Barack Obama has made it known he will sign the bill into law.  On March 31, 2015 the present Sustainable Growth Rate expired.  Physicians could see a 21 percent cut to Medicare payments. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has advised they will be flexible on the deadline as congress works towards a decision.

*Excerpted from House Passes SGR Permanent Repeal Legislation/2015 of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. A copy of the full text can be obtained from ASA, 1061 American Lane, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173.

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