Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) says drug companies can pay for thesustainable growth-rate repeal.
A day after leaders in the Senate and House floated a bipartisan proposal to replace Medicare’s hated physician pay formula—but not a plan to pay for it—Rockefeller is pointing to a bill he introduced back in April as a way to make the fix budget-neutral.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the SGR would cost about $139 billion over 10 years. Finding a way to offset this figure has been an obstacle to scrapping the formula, which currently calls for cutting Medicare pay to physicians by 24.4% at the start of next year. Congress has been approving temporary postponements of SGR-driven pay cuts for 10 years now, and the cost of these legislative “patches” has been estimated at almost $150 billion.