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AMA to Journal Star: Repeal health board

Aug. 28, 2011(published)

Journal Star
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Jodi Chewakin's column ("Health reform has serious problems," Aug. 25) included important points about the new Independent Payment Advisory Board, which the AMA believes should be repealed.

The board lacks accountability and would impose another arbitrary formula on Medicare, similar to the current Medicare physician payment formula that will trigger a nearly 30 percent cut Jan. 1. This drastic cut could force physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients in their practice. Additional overall cuts through the advisory board would increase this problem and create a double jeopardy situation where physicians face two sets of cuts, further threatening access to care just as millions of baby boomers enter Medicare.

To reduce growth in Medicare spending, Congress should work in a bipartisan manner to promote improvements in quality, access and care coordination 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