Due to budgetary considerations, the House leadership decided to introduce a separate bill, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 3961), to address another Medicare access provision of major importance to psychologists. This bill provides for the permanent repeal of the highly problematic Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and the replacement of the impending 21% SGR cut in physician reimbursement (which includes psychologists) with a 1% increase in 2010.

On the night before the bill was introduced, APA was invited to send two representatives to a meeting the next day at the U.S. Capitol with Energy and Commerce Committee staff, along with the American Medical Association and about six physician specialty groups. We were unexpectedly greeted by key members of the House leadership—Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and the chairs and subcommittee chairs of the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees.

They were successful in allaying our concerns surrounding the separation of these SGR provisions from the larger health care reform bill and assured us of their staunch commitment to pass BOTH of these bills.