Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of legislation that will fix a projected 21% increase in Medicare physician payments:

“Last night the House passed a six-month fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to calculate payments to physicians through Medicare.  Without the fix, the formula called for a 21 per cent cut to physician pay for this year, effective June 1.  I was disappointed that Congress was unable to work together to solve this problem by the June 1st deadline and prevent uncertainty and frustration for Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians.  Thankfully, the bill passed last night will reverse these cuts and increase Medicare physician payments by 2.2 per cent through November 30, 2010.

“While I am pleased that the short-term solution passed will give Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians a small amount of certainty for the next few months, it is not enough.  Congress needs to find a permanent solution to the SGR problem so that physicians and patients are not faced with pending massive cuts every few months.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to address this issue and am hopeful that in the weeks and months ahead, we will find a permanent, paid for solution to this issue.”