By Sam Baker - 02/06/13 04:44 PM EST
Schwartz said there's no reason for Congress to wait until the end of the year, when the latest temporary patch is set to expire, before tackling the problem permanently. She and Heck also said they'd like to see SGR repeal as one in a series of incremental steps toward Medicare reform, rather than packaging it with a broader — and more controversial — overhaul.
Each time a temporary SGR patch expires, doctors are threatened with a cut in their Medicare payments of nearly 30 percent. Congress routinely postpones the cuts, which allows them to grow larger, and the cost of continuous short-term fixes adds up to much more than the cost of a permanent solution.