MedPAC approves growth-formula recommendation

Medical groups quickly registered their disapproval Thursday after Congress’s Medicare advisory panel approved a proposal to replace the controversial formula for paying doctors.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) passed a recommendation that would replace the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) formula and its automatic cuts to doctors’ payments. But MedPAC’s alternative also includes automatic cuts — 6 percent per year for several years to most specialties.

The American College of Cardiology quickly panned the recommendation after Thursday’s vote.

“The proposal is not an acceptable or sustainable solution to the SGR and does nothing to promote quality or resource stewardship,” the group said in a statement.

The National Coalition on Health Care, however, praised MedPAC for trying to find an alternative to the deeply unpopular SGR formula.

Whether or not MedPAC’s shared sacrifice approach is the right one, at least MedPAC has gotten serious about addressing provider payment,” the group said. “It is long past time that our elected leaders do the same.”