Proposed SGR deal would advance GOP goal of privatizing Medicare

The proposed bipartisan House deal to repeal and replace Medicare'shated sustainable growth-rate physician-payment system offers Republicans a chance to make two significant benefit changes they've long sought. Now it remains to be seen if they can accept and lock in that victory. 

It also raises the question of what Democrats, if they help enact the SGR bill, would have left to offer when Republicans come back the next time—probably quite soon—with more and bigger demands to revamp and reduce Medicare spending.

The deal crafted by House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would pay for a $70 billion portion of the SGR overhaul partly by increasing Part B premiums for higher-income beneficiaries and requiring those with Medigap supplemental coverage to spend at least $250 out of pocket before coverage kicks in, according to Modern Healthcare's Paul Demko, who first reported the details last week. 

Even though President Barack Obama previously proposed similar Medigap changes in his 2016 budget, senior advocacy group AARP expressed “very serious concerns” about those changes and the increased means-testing of premiums. Some Senate Democrats also voiced reservations. 

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