The landslide vote in Congress to pass H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, this spring ushered in much-needed Medicare reforms. Especially noteworthy is the repeal of the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to calculate Medicare physician pay. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) led a multi-year campaign to garner lawmakers’ support to permanently repeal the SGR. H.R. 2 passed in the Senate 92–8 and in the House 392–37. President Obama signed it into law on April 16.
The new law stopped implementation of a 21 percent SGR cut that was scheduled to take effect April 1. The hard-fought victory was achieved through the advocacy efforts of the ACS and other medical associations, as well as through Fellows’ participation in meetings with lawmakers and thousands of letters and calls to Capitol Hill.
The College is committed to working with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials on the implementation of the policies authorized in the legislation that stress quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Details regarding the legislation and what surgeons can expect in the future will be published in the July issue of the Bulletin.