On Friday, December 6, 2013, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) gave renewed hope for all those pushing for a permanent fix to the SGR (background information on the SGR is available here). In May, CBO estimated the 10-year score for a permanent fix (without any payment updates for physicians) would cost $139.1 billion. CBO’s latest score estimates the same policy to cost $116.5 billion. According to a footnote in the report, CBO’s revision is based in part on changes made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule.
CBO’s latest report comes in advance of the Senate Finance Committee markup of legislation to repeal and replace the SGR, at 10:00 am on Thursday, December 12th. In October, the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee released a joint discussion draft of their proposal to repeal and replace the SGR (background available here). House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued a statement indicating his Committee is making progress on its version of legislation and may hold a hearing this week, though so far the hearing has not been formally announced. The House Energy and Commerce Committee also drafted a proposal to address the SGR, which was voted on by the Committee in July (more information available here).