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AMA to Modesto Bee: Military health care payments falling

Feb. 8, 2012 (published)

Modesto Bee
Letter to the Editor

The column "Will medical providers flee rural areas, seniors?" (Feb. 1, Page A-11) shows seniors are facing health care access problems under Medicare now, but a scheduled cut of 27 percent on March 1 will make matters much worse. Military families should also be concerned, as TRICARE rates are tied to Medicare rates and will also be cut.

Congress has already patched this problem 13 times and with every delay it grows. In 2005, it could have been eliminated for a sixth of the cost we are confronting today. Costs will double again in five years if delays continue. Now is the time for a permanent solution. Congress must eliminate this problem to protect the nearly 5.6 million Californians who rely on Medicare and TRICARE.

There is a unique opportunity as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down for Congress to use projected spending that won't be needed for war to ensure access to care for military and seniors without adding to the deficit. Call your members of Congress and tell them this is the fiscally responsible action to take now.

Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association