Calling the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula "broken," the American Medical Association called on Congress to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula.

"There is wide bipartisan agreement that the Medicare physician payment system is broken, and we know that continued reliance on recent policies will increase the cost of fixing the problem. With a nearly 30% cut looming for physician payments, the fiscally responsible action for the congressional deficit committee is to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula now," said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, MD. "The committee’s deadline comes just before a 30% cut is scheduled to occur on January 1, providing a critical opportunity to stabilize the Medicare system and protect seniors’ access to health care."

In testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health earlier this year, former AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD, proposed a three-step solution to fixing the broken Medicare physician payment system.

"Congress should begin by repealing the failed Medicare physician payment formula and implementing a 5-year period of stable Medicare physician payments," said Carmel. "During this time, a variety of new payment models designed to enhance care coordination and quality while reducing costs can be tested and would form the basis for a new Medicare physician payment system."