Medicare Cut?

Gerald N. Yorioka, MD, SCMS President

Do you remember the recent physician victory in Congress with the repeal of the dreaded Sustained Growth Rate (SGR) that was scheduled to impose a Medicare payment rate reduction? That new law was supposed to swap a 23% reduction with a 0.5% increase. The ink has barely dried on signing this into law April 16th and now we see the final result … a 0.3% pay cut! The DC-speak explanation is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and laws related to Medicare reimbursement trumps the new Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.

The expression “you can’t win for losing” never seemed to make sense, but it is coming into focus. We have been dealt a blow, but we still have some remaining dignity as in the lyrics of the Bobby Bare song, “The Winner” which ends:

So I stumbled from that barroom, not so tall and not so proud
And behind me I still hear the hoots of laughter of the crowd
But my eyes still see and my nose still works and my teeth’re still in my mouth
And you know I guess that makes me the winner…