Medicare officials recently announced that physicians face a 29.5-percent cut in Medicare reimbursement in 2012 unless lawmakers act to prevent the reduction.

The Obama administration’s 2012 budget proposal estimated that the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula would at most require a 28.3-percent cut to physician payments. The budget also allocated $62 billion to maintain current payment levels for the next two years. However, the new SGR calculation means sustaining current payments would cost billions more than expected. In addition, repealing the SGR formula likely would cost more than $369.8 billion, according to a 10-year projection assumed in Obama’s budget.

In response to the announcement, the AASM and 130 other state and specialty medical societies signed a letter urging Congress to find a permanent replacement for the current SGR payment formula before 2012.