Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and Chairman of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, has introduced H.R. 6142, the Assuring Medicare Stability and Access for Seniors Act of 2012. This legislation will provide a one year extension for Medicare physician payment rates to ensure continued access for Medicare beneficiaries and TRICARE recipients.
"By providing one more year of stability we make a critical, initial step towards ridding ourselves of this problematic and inadequate payment system," said Dr. Burgess. "Allowing for a one year extension now will prove early to our seniors, physicians, and health care providers that they are at the forefront of our minds and our legislative agenda, and we will not leave them uncertain about how the upcoming "fiscal cliff" will impact their care."
As numerous fiscal deadlines create a potential collision at the end of this year, kicking the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) provision of legislative relief down the road is dangerous. In order to guarantee a substantive, long term plan, guaranteeing proper services for Medicare beneficiaries, doctors need to first be provided with payment certainty for 2013.
"Despite Congress' continual enactment of last minute legislation to prevent these cuts from going into effect over the last few years, eleventh-hour legislative maneuvers should no longer take the place of a stable and secure solution," said Dr. Burgess. "I have never seen so much progress made on this issue than this year, but Congress must have more time to work with stakeholders on crafting a permanent replacement. While this legislation will provide a one year extension, Congress must continue to work towards a permanent fix that will solve the issue once and for all, and this bill provides that time."