Below you will find an update on some of our priority issues in the 113th Congress. Want to receive email updates on these and other legislative issues? Join the Physicians' Grassroots Network.
Join the AMA's "Save GME" campaign to preserve funding for graduate medical education. GME faces severe cuts in Medicare financing and Congress must take proactive steps to prevent GME funding cuts. Campaign supporters are telling Congress it's time to focus on long term solutions that address the financial stability of Medicare, maintain access to care for patients, and preserve critical funding for physician residency programs.
You can participate by sending an email to your elected officials or calling our grassroots hotline at 1-800-833-6354. Be sure to "share your story" by posting a video to the campaign website describing the importance of preserving GME funding.
Efforts are again underway in Congress to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). H.R. 351 and S. 351, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2013, were introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, MD and Sen. John Cornyn and have the support of the AMA. Similar legislation gained bipartisan momentum in the 112th Congress and the AMA will continue to work towards this commonsense reform that will ease the regulatory burden and protect the financial viability of physicians' practices.
SGR and sequestration cuts
A recent AMA press release highlighted a new two percent cut that is going into effect on April 1 following congressional inaction to stop sequestration.
"The across-the-board cut will hit physicians particularly hard because of the fundamentally flawed Medicare physician payment system. Since 2001 Medicare payments for physician services have only increased by four percent, while the cost of caring for patients has gone up by more than 20 percent. A two percent cut widens the already enormous gap between what Medicare pays and the actual cost of caring for seniors." said AMA President Jeremy Lazarus, MD. "Physicians continue to face drastic cuts from the SGR, and an additional two percent cut coming from sequestration further threatens access to care for patients and prevents needed improvements in Medicare.
While Congress has failed to avert the sequestration cuts, the budget committees in the House & Senate have introduced differing budget plans and program priorities, including their approach to addressing the available funding for repeal of the SGR and the long term sustainability of the Medicare program. These proposals are in their infancy and will be vetted, debated and amended during the regular budget process that will take place over the coming weeks and months.
In addition to the budget process, committees of jurisdiction over Medicare, SGR repeal and physician payment reform have initiated proposals and committee hearings. Earlier this month, the AMA submitted comments on a jointly released House Committee on Ways & Means and House Committee on Energy & Commerce majority proposal on SGR repeal and payment reform.
The AMA and the Physicians' Grassroots Network (PGN) have unveiled a new grassroots mobile application to aid physicians’ ability to influence Congress. This new app has been designed to not only assist you while visiting Capitol Hill, but also serve as an advocacy tool when interacting with legislators back home.
- An interactive Capitol Hill office directory with office location numbers, phone, fax and additional contact information for your US Representative and Senators.
- A built-in email and phone action alert tool which will be functional year round so that you can respond to the latest activity on Capitol Hill.
- Access to timely talking points on our most critical issues and a real-time online feedback form to report back on your interactions with legislators.
Download the app today and stay tuned for additional features and updates in 2013!