Skip to Content

Filter by:

Washington Highlights

Congress Reaches Compromise Agreement to Extend SGR Patch through 2012

February 17, 2012—AAMC President and CEO Darryl G. Kirch, M.D., Feb. 16 released a statement thanking conference committee co-chairs Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and all conferees for reaching a bipartisan deal, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (H.R. 3630), to extend the current sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula patch, payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits through the remainder of 2012 and  prevent a 27.4 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians on March 1 [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 6].  Dr. Kirch stated, “The 10-month extension is a reasonable compromise that addresses the uncertainty presented by the sustainable growth rate formula, and we hope that a permanent solution can be worked out during this time.”

The legislation, which passed both the House (293-132) and Senate (60-36), only offsets the cost for the extension of the SGR and unemployment benefits ($50 billion over ten years), including more than $20 billion from health care savings including $6.9 billion in Medicare bad debt payments to hospitals and $4.1 billion through rebasing Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments in 2021.  The compromise does not include the harmful cuts to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) that were included in the House-passed version of H.R. 3630.   Dr. Kirch continued “we are pleased that, when crafting this legislation, lawmakers considered the unique role teaching hospitals and their physicians play in the nation’s health care system.”    

The conference agreement also offsets the extension’s cost by slowing growth of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) established in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) to supplement annual appropriations for federal health programs. Originally scheduled to provide $1.25 billion in FY 2013, the conference agreement amends the fund so as to provide $1 billion. The president’s FY 2013 budget request proposes $1.25 billion from the PPHF to supplement the budgets of several agencies within HHS [see related story].

The president is expected to sign the bill before Congress recesses the week of Feb. 20.


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


envelope on a green background

Subscribe to Washington Highlights

RSS icon

Subscribe to RSS

Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

Past Issues

For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806