- On Thursday, President Obama signed the doc fix bill that will permanently repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.
- The legislation will allow physicians to avoid a 21% across-the-board cut in Medicare reimbursements.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said on Thursday that most payments were already being paid at the new full rates even before the president signed the bill.
President Obama said the new law helps Medicare by assuring doctors about their payments. "It also improves it because it starts encouraging payments based on quality, not the number of tests that are provided or the number of procedures that are applied but whether or not people actually start feeling better," he said. "It encourages us to continue to make the system better without denying service."
But according to Paul Spitalnic, Chief Actuary for CMS, the new law is a short-term fix. "While [the new law] avoids the significant short-range physician payment issues resulting from the current SGR system approach, it nevertheless raises important long-range concerns that would almost certainly need to be addressed by future legislation."