Doc fix deal: bipartisan budget buster.

Author:Suderman, Peter
Position:Citings - Brief article

IN APRIL, President Barack Obama signed a repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), the payment formula that for more than a decade had called for large reductions in Medicare's physician reimbursements. Those reductions had always been overridden in a recurring congressional ritual that came to be known as the "doc fix."

Members of both parties had long sought a permanent doc fix, and over the last two years had even agreed on the outlines of a replacement. But negotiations had always broken down when the two sides failed to settle on a way to offset the budgetary impact of permanently ending the large Medicare payment cuts that the existing SGR formula called for.

There turned out to be a simple bipartisan solution: Don't figure out how to pay for it at all. The repeal, passed with large majorities from both parties in both the House and the Senate, offset a little less than a third of its...

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