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New House panel chief makes SGR repeal a priority

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 28, 2013

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The new House Ways and Means health subcommittee chair has promised to work on Medicare payment reform during the 113th Congress.

The committee announced that Rep. Kevin Brady (R, Texas) will lead the panel, which often drafts Medicare- and Medicaid-related bills, following the retirement of the former chair, Rep. Wally Herger (R, Calif.). In a statement, Brady said he anticipates that his committee, along with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will introduce legislation to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula and replace it with a system that rewards physicians and hospitals for quality.

“In the House we’ve taken the lead to preserve Medicare with solutions that offer quality and choice to future seniors, and gives us a better bang for our health care dollar,” Brady said. “The time to preserve Medicare is now.” Structural reforms also are needed to prevent fraud, he added.

The chair will take aim at administrative overhead in the health care system, which can be as high as 30% in some instances. He said he will set a goal of lowering overhead to 10% by seeking legislation that emphasizes free-market ideas and technology.

“Can you imagine the benefits to American’s health care system if we can significantly shift paperwork costs to patient care and cost savings?” he asked.

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