KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

SGR Repeal Measure Moves To Full House Consideration

Some medical societies, which support repealing Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, are expressing concern that a bill won't be signed into law before a scheduled 25 percent reduction in Medicare physician payment takes effect. Meanwhile, members of the Senate Finance Committee are working on their own plan.

Medpage Today: SGR Repeal Bill Moves To Full House Vote
Some national and state physician medical societies are voicing concern with one provision of a bill to replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula -- a bill that now awaits a vote before the full House of Representatives. The groups say the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, which the full Energy and Commerce Committee approved in a 51-0 vote Wednesday morning, errs by not giving certain savings in Medicare back to undervalued services. But there will certainly be time for the physician groups to have their concerns addressed. Even optimistic supporters of an SGR repeal admit it'll be tough to have a bill signed into law by the end of the year and before the SGR's scheduled 25 percent pay cuts take effect (Pittman, 7/31).

CQ HealthBeat: Senate Finance Members Vow To Write Their Own Bipartisan 'Doc Fix'
The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill to replace Medicare's physician payment system Wednesday, while at almost the same time Senate Finance Committee members huddled on crafting their own plan, expected this fall. Senators leaving their closed-door meeting said they discussed goals and ways to proceed on legislation that would improve how Medicare pays physicians (Ethridge, 7/31).

In other legislative news --

The Hill: Single-Payer Health Care System Would Save Billions
Expanding the nation's Medicare program to cover people of all ages would save the government billions of dollars, according to a new study released Wednesday. The study found that a single-payer health care system based on the principles of legislation by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, would save the federal government about $592 billion in one year (Seligman, 7/31).

Modern Healthcare: Congress Should Consider Clarifying FDA's Authority Over Compounding, GAO Says
Congress should think about clarifying the Food and Drug Administration's authority to oversee drug compounding, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released on Wednesday. A deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated compounded drugs in 2012 led to a series of federal hearings on Capitol Hill last fall (Zigmond, 7/31).

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