GOP physicians demand permanent 'doc fix'

By Elise Viebeck - 11/03/14 04:18 PM EST

The Republican Doctors Caucus is urging Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to prioritize a permanent "doc fix" before the end of the year. 

The lawmakers called on Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to resume negotiations with the Senate about offsets for overhauling Medicare's flawed physician payment system. 

"We appreciate the tremendous effort that Republican leadership and committees have put into [sustainable growth rate] reform this year — but our work is not done," the members wrote in a letter Monday. "We have a unique opportunity to bring much-needed stability to the Medicare program that will benefit seniors and physicians alike." 

The letter cited bipartisan support for H.R. 4015, a bill to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate and move the program away from volume-based payments. 

The measure had momentum earlier this year but never passed due to disagreements about how to pay for its reforms. Lawmakers stopped cuts set to hit doctors on April 1, 2014, with a one-year patch that will expire at the end of March. 

Congress has temporarily fixed the payment system for doctors more than 15 times. 

"The time to act is now," GOP doctors wrote. "We understand that discussions with the Senate have been derailed in the past by disagreements over offsets, but those negotiations must resume."