The following statement was issued Wednesday by American Medical Association president Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, to urge members of the House of Representatives to “oppose another in a series of stopgap measures to Medicare's troubled payment system.” A vote on the measure is expected in the House today.

AMA statement on pending vote for temporary SGR patch

“Facing another self-imposed deadline, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act,” which would enact the 17th temporary “patch” to avert a 24 percent payment cut. Today, the American Medical Association and other physician groups are calling on House members to vote no on this legislation. Full repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula is the answer to strengthening the Medicare program, not another patch.

“The case for repeal of the so-called SGR is stronger than ever. The bipartisan, bicameral agreement by the three congressional committees of jurisdiction for the Medicare program would improve quality, increase care coordination, and lower total costs and is strongly supported by the AMA and over 600 other physician organizations.

“Unfortunately, differences on budgetary issues have thus far stymied final passage.

“By extending the Medicare provider sequester and “cherry picking” a number of cost savings provisions included in the bipartisan, bicameral framework, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act” actually undermines future passage of the permanent repeal framework. Further, it would perpetuate the program instability that now impedes the development and adoption of health care delivery and payment innovation that can improve health care and strengthen the Medicare program.

“We urge the House and the Senate to continue to pursue bipartisan negotiations on permanent SGR repeal legislation and for both chambers to oppose the Protecting Access to Medicare Act.”