Reader Holds Congress Accountable

It was extremely disappointing to see efforts to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) provision fail once again. As reported in AAOS Now (May 2014), orthopaedic leadership devoted many resources to support and advise legislators in developing an unprecedented, bipartisan, and bicameral agreement on a permanent repeal of the SGR.

Hopes were high that we would finally fix this flawed system and its last-minute “short-term patches” that threaten medical practices and Medicare beneficiaries. These hopes were dashed when House Republicans, instead of constructively working on ways to fund this measure, decided to cast one more vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They should be held accountable for this cynical political act.

According to Thomas C. Barber, MD, chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy, the House measure to couple the SGR fix with a 5-year delay in the ACA’s individual mandate was “another attack on ObamaCare, which is in and of itself not a problem, but it means that the legislation will be dead on arrival in the Senate.” This obsession to cast symbolic votes against the ACA is a problem, especially when it undermines crucial legislation that would protect Medicare patients’ access to their physicians.

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