Repealing the SGR Without Adding (Too Much) to the Deficit

Today the House passed the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” which will repeal the dreaded Sustainable Growth Rate.

Unfortunately, the bill is not without its problems, not the least of which is it will cost $141 billion over ten years.

Thanks to the folks at the Heritage Foundation for pointing out to me that there is at least $57.6 billion worth of Medicare changes in President Obama’s budget that could be used to defray some of the cost.  They include:

-$62.5 billion by increasing income‐related premiums under Medicare Parts B and D.

-$6.6 billion by increasing the Part B deductible for new beneficiaries.

-$0.8 billion by introducing home health co‐payments for new beneficiaries.

-$17.7 billion by encouraging  the use of generic drugs by low‐income beneficiaries.

-$5 billion by introducing a Part B premium surcharge for new beneficiaries who purchase near first‐dollar Medigap coverage.

That adds up to about $92.6 billion. The House bill already incorporates about $35 billion of it, meaning that there is another $57.6 billion that the Obama Administration is willing to go along with.  Include the rest and the cost drops to $83.4 billion.

I’d still like to see that final $83.4 billion paid for, but if that was the only thing standing in the way of SGR repeal, it might be worth it.



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