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AMA to New Hampshire Sentinel Source: Medicare is not working

Aug. 14, 2011(published)

New Hampshire Sentinel Source
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

In his recent column ("Some Controls Needed," Sentinel, Aug. 8), Mr. Madsen is correct that we must bend the health care cost curve while maintaining high quality care. This important task cannot be achieved through the newly created Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

The IPAB lacks accountability and would impose another arbitrary formula on Medicare, similar to the current Medicare physician payment formula that will impose a nearly 30 percent cut on Jan. 1.

This drastic cut leaves physicians who care for Medicare patients to make difficult decisions about the future of Medicare in their practice. Adding additional overall cuts through IPAB is just not rational, especially as millions of baby boomers enter Medicare.

We cannot continue to implement the same arbitrary formulas and expect different results. To reduce growth in Medicare spending Congress should work in a bipartisan manner to promote improvements in quality, access and integration to ensure physicians can provide patients with the right care at the right time. Stabilizing the Medicare system benefits patients, physicians and taxpayers – subjecting it to further across the board cuts harms everyone.

Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association