AMA: Permanent ‘doc fix’ is only acceptable option

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“There is bipartisan agreement in Washington that the SGR must be eliminated, but instead Congress has put in place a series of fiscally irresponsible, short-term patches that have only grown the size of the problem for patients, physicians and taxpayers,” the AMA said in a statement. “It's ludicrous to continue to pay more for a policy that everyone agrees is flawed: The price to put an end to it will never be less than it is right now."

Doctors will face a roughly 30 percent cut in their Medicare payments if Congress doesn’t act within the two-month window. After every temporary patch, the scheduled cut gets bigger and the cost of delaying it again increases further.

The AMA wants Congress to use savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to offset the cost of replacing the SGR. Some lawmakers have balked at using the savings as an offset, though Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) warmed up to the idea last year, saying the war savings and the SGR both amount to fake money.

If Congress doesn’t tap into the war savings to offset its next doc fix, it will likely make targeted cuts to hospitals and other healthcare providers.

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