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AMA to Washington Post: The wrong way to go on Medicare

March 24, 2012 (published)

Wasington Post
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The recent editorial on the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) [“Saving Medicare,” March 18] missed an important point: The board would have the ability to make indiscriminate Medicare cuts that hurt access to health care for millions of patients.

Seniors and military families who rely on Medicare and the Tricare military health-care program are already dealing with looming, massive cuts caused by a broken physician-payment formula. While Congress is struggling to eliminate this problem, the last thing we need is another arbitrary system that could make the same dangerous type of cuts.

We are dedicated to stabilizing Medicare, but the IPAB is not the way. Instead of relying on another system that imposes sweeping cuts, members of Congress should focus on new models of care delivery that ensure the best quality and value for patients, physicians and taxpayers. Investment in these promising reforms cannot be achieved while patients and physicians face ongoing, drastic Medicare cuts.

Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association