Congress Ends the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate Formula and Begins Replacing the Fee For Service System
President Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, on Thursday, April 16. The Act repeals the long complained about Sustainable Growth Rate formula for computing Medicare reimbursement rates, which had resulted in the annual “Doc Fix” legislation for the last 17 years. The Act also begins the conversion from the Fee For Service system, which has been the way Medicare claims have been paid for 50 years, to a “value-based payment” system. The value-based payment system is designed to promote efficient care by shifting the burden and benefit of efficient care to physicians. There is much debate about the possible effects and side effects of the shift in payment.
The Act, known as MACRA, raises Medicare premiums on persons with incomes over $133,500 ($267,000 per couple), starting at 50% increases up to 80%. The willingness of Congress to index premiums to income in a bipartisan bill (it passed the Senate 92-8) is seen by many as a sign that compromise is possible on both long-term Medicare sustainability and in the event the Supreme Court uses the King v. Burwell case this summer to strike down portions of the Accountable
To gain a broader understanding of the Sustainable Growth Rate and Value-Based Payment impact of MACRA, please see the presentation linked here. Recent Developments In Healthcare