The ACP Advocate Blog
by Bob Doherty
Friday, February 17, 2012
“We are playing a silly little game with doctors and Medicare patients.”
This is the best description I’ve heard of the short-term Medicare SGR “patch” that passed the House and Senate today. It didn’t come from a press release from organized medicine, but from someone directly involved in the process, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Here is the full quote from his speech today on the floor of the House, minutes before it voted to extend Medicare payments to doctors for another 10 months:
“We are playing a silly little game with the doctors and with Medicare patients, and this silly little game pretends we are going to extend SGR for 10 months. That's baloney and everybody knows it. We are going to extend SGR over and over and over again. We should have done it permanently in this bill. We should have done it permanently last year in the Congress which I was the Majority Leader. We should have done that. So with respect to SGR, ladies and gentlemen, we are playing a game, and the doctors all over this country and the Medicare recipients all over this country know we're playing a game. We're giving them no certainty, no confidence that come this September, October, November, we won't have another one of these silly little debates.”
Now, a cynic would point out that Congressman Hoyer is a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House, so it is easy for him to take pot shots now. But at least he was honest in saying that getting rid of the SGR should have been done permanently last year when his party controlled the House and when he was the Majority Leader.
So maybe we should all stop referring to the Sustainable Growth Rate as the SGR, and start calling it the SLG—Silly Little Game—that has been played by Washington politicians from both political parties on doctors and patients for a decade now. But it won’t seem so silly, or much like a game, when patients no longer can find a doctor.
Today’s question: Are you going to tell your members of Congress to stop playing this silly little game with you and your patients?
About the Author
Bob Doherty is Senior Vice President, American College of Physicians Government Affairs and Public Policy; Author of the ACP Advocate Blog
Email Bob Doherty: TheACPAdvocateblog@acponline.org.Follow @BobDohertyACP
- A surgeon, an internist and a family physician wal...
- Here they go again
- “My love for you is like health care cost growth: ...
- The Myth of the Well-heeled Senior
- A tip of my hat to ACP’s physician leadership
- How Bad Budgets and Broken Politics Undermine Heal...
- Health Care Reform Barely Mentioned in SOTU???
- Politicians won’t admit it, but repeal means takin...
- Historic declines in health spending growth? Healt...
- Emptying the Cost Control Tool Kit (Revisited)
The Wall Street Journal's blog on health and the business of health.
Health Affairs Magazine Blog
The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere.
The Health Care Blog
Everything you always wanted to know about the Health Care system. But were afraid to ask.
Vignettes and commentaries on the medical profession.
The New Health Dialogue Blog
From the New America Foundation.
DB's Medical Rants
Contemplating medicine and the health care system
Notes From The Road
Bloggers post from medical meetings, press conferences, and policy gatherings from the U.S. and around the world, providing readers with a tasty analysis of the buzz, the people, and the stories that don't get told.
A blog dedicated to medical education, news, and policy as well as career advising.
Disease Management Care Blog
An ongoing resource for information, insights, peer-review literature and musings from the world of disease management, the medical home, the chronic care model, the patient centered medical home, informatics, pay for performance, primary care, chronic illness and health insurance.
Medical Professionalism Blog
The Medical Professionalism Blog was created by the ABIM Foundation to stimulate conversation and highlight best practices related to professionalism in medicine.