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Post SGR battle, still tough realities for physicians


David Cutler, a healthcare economist at Harvard, writes in JAMA that while physicians are relieved that the fight over the Sustainable Growth Rate for Medicare payments is over, they should know that the pressure on them is far from over. He says at the end of his essay:

“When the SGR was repealed, physicians may have thought they were going back to the good old days of Medicare, before the SGR was introduced. But that is not in the cards. To paraphrase the old expression that war is too important to be left to the generals,’ healthcare payers have concluded that medicine is too important to be left to physicians alone.

“Physicians may not like living under alternative payment systems or being judged on outcomes for patients who avoid necessary care because of cost-sharing. But they will have to accept these new realities.  Over time, they may even come to embrace them. After all, what is the alternative?”

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