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Testimony by Dr. Alice Rivlin to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Solutions to Medicare SGR

“This committee has the rare opportunity of restarting a bipartisan process, which can accomplish two important goals at once. You can replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) physician payment formula, thereby halting the unfortunate budgetary practice of creating an expensive temporary patch on the formula every year. At the same time, you can begin phasing in new payment incentives that will nudge Medicare and, indeed, the whole health delivery system, toward high-quality, more cost-effective delivery of care. The SGR should be fixed—permanently. Bipartisan, bicameral cooperation can solve a problem that everyone wants solved. The SGR formula, with its pending 21 percent cut to Medicare physician-fee-schedule payments, creates unnecessary uncertainty for Medicare providers. Keeping the formula in the law but postponing its impact every year makes our legislative process look ridiculous. Now is the time to stop kicking this problem down the road and get it fixed.”

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