Larsen: SGR Repeal Rightly Moves Us From Volume to Value

Mar 26, 2015 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today hailed House passage of a bill that ensures seniors can continue seeing their doctors, provides funding for community health centers and extends health insurance for children.

Larsen voted in favor of H.R. 2, the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The bill permanently repeals the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) that for years has caused uncertainty for seniors and their doctors, and advances other key health care priorities for Northwest Washington and the country.

“Repealing the flawed Medicare payment formula moves our country in the direction we should be going with health care reimbursement – from volume to value. After years of annual so-called fixes, Congress today has passed a real solution that will protect seniors’ ability to see their doctors.

“The bill also provides critical funding for community health centers, which are vital to the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our communities, and CHIP, which helps make sure low-income children have access to health coverage,” Larsen said.

Many Washington state and national organizations support H.R. 2 and the positive direction it moves the country.

“After years of discussion and debate, we are encouraged by the bipartisan movement in Congress to finally repeal the Medicare SGR and end years of instability in the program. We see this as an important and vital step in securing access to care for our nation's seniors, veterans, military families and people with disabilities. The physicians of Washington state thank Congressman Larsen for his support and leadership in tackling this important issue,” said Jennifer Hanscom, CEO of the Washington State Medical Association.

“H.R. 2 offers stability for the 48 million Medicare patients and the providers who treat them by helping to ensure that older Americans continue to get the health care they need. We appreciate our House delegation's leadership on this matter, and we look forward to working with our Senate leaders to make this a reality,” said Rick Cooper, CEO for The Everett Clinic.

“The SGR fix is a terrific step forward.  It solves a long-term problem in providing fair Medicare payments to physicians without making damaging cuts to health care access for our seniors and low-income residents.  It also extends a critical health insurance program for tens of thousands of children in Washington state.  We greatly appreciate Rep. Larsen’s leadership and support,” said Scott Bond, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association.

“Access to health care for many people we care for is at risk if it is not addressed now. H.R. 2 is the only opportunity to get the Health Center funding cliff addressed before it takes effect,” said Mary C. Looker, CEO for the Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers.

“Washington State University is grateful for Congressman Rick Larsen's support of extending the critical Teaching Health Graduate Medical Education program. Educating more doctors and advancing the health of our citizens is another example of WSU’s commitment to creating a better world through our teaching, research, and outreach—a mission to which we’ve been dedicated for nearly 125 years. With the support of members like Rick Larsen, we will be able to meet our commitment,” said Ken Roberts, Acting Dean of Washington State University's College of Medical Science.

“As the mother of a teenager with type 1 diabetes (T1D), I appreciate Congressman Larsen’s support of this legislation, which includes a two-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, a program that is leading to better treatments, prevention strategies and ultimately a cure for T1D and its costly complications,” said Janice Merdgen, a local volunteer with JDRF, a global organization that funds T1D research.

H.R. 2 contains a number of health-related provisions, including:

  • Permanent repeal of the Medicare sustainable growth rate;
  • Provides $7.2 billion in funding over two years for community health centers; and
  • Extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program through FY2017.

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