Marilyn Moon Testifies Before House Subcommittee on the Sustainable Growth Rate for Medicare

Washington, D.C. – Dr. Marilyn Moon, Director of the Center on Aging at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Health, called Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) limiting physician costs “poor public policy” but cautioned that any revisions need to avoid imposing unfair burdens on beneficiaries.

Congress enacted the SGR in 1997 to control Medicare spending on physician services. “The intent of the SGR was to provide discipline to the rapid growth in physician payments, but it has never helped with that issue,” Moon said in prepared remarks delivered on January 21, 2015. “It is too broadly conceived—penalizing all physicians for growth in physician spending, for example. And other technical problems with the formula penalize physicians for events well beyond their control … (SGR) needs to be replaced with a better mechanism for holding providers of services accountable.”

Moon, a former public trustee for the Social Security and Medicare trust funds and an Institute Fellow at AIR, told lawmakers the “Sustainable Growth Rate is poor public policy and ought to be fixed. But beneficiaries should not be penalized for the poor policy making that occurred fifteen years ago. The SGR should not be used as a rationale for reducing valuable benefits to our most vulnerable citizens.”

Moon’s prepared remarks are available on the AIR website,

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit


Media Contact

Dana Tofig

Managing Director, Corporate Communications