Congress appears serious about addressing a long-running problem:  the need for an annual “Medicare doc fix” to address the problem stemming from the use of the sustainable growth rate formula, or SGR, to determine Medicare payments for physician services.

Happy medical team of doctors togetherFor years, application of the SGR called for reductions in Medicare payments to doctors, forcing Congress to apply temporary patches to the problem – and to find ways to pay for those patches.

Now, however, Congress appears intent on doing away with the SGR and fixing the problem once and for all.

But what exactly is the problem, what will it cost to fix, and how might Congress fix it?  And why address it now, after years of short-term solutions?  These questions and others are answered in a new Kaiser Health News FAQ, which you can find here.