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AMA Applauds Senate Finance Committee for Focus on Medicare Physician Payment Crisis

For immediate release:
May 10, 2012

Statement attributable to:
Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association

“The AMA is pleased that the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Finance Committee is focusing on a critical problem facing the Medicare and TRICARE programs – a looming cut of about 30 percent scheduled for January 1 and the failed formula triggering it and risking access to care for seniors and military families.

“The Medicare physician payment formula has been plaguing patients and physicians in Medicare and the TRICARE military health program for over a decade. The longer it goes unaddressed, the greater the problem becomes.

“The 14 short-term patches Congress has put in place since 2002 to delay, rather than permanently fix, this problem have put patients at risk. It is time to stop compromising access to health care and choice of physicians for seniors and military families. There is bipartisan agreement that this formula should be eliminated to ensure access to care for patients, and the time for action is now.

“Eliminating this problem is especially important as we work to enhance the way health care is delivered in our nation, with an increased focus on care coordination that ensures quality care for patients while addressing rising costs. These changes require physician practices to be financially stable, which is difficult due to payments that are well below increases in practice costs and the ongoing threat of drastic cuts, such as the one of about 30 percent now scheduled for January 1.

“The AMA has been working with Congress, the Administration and physician stakeholders to develop a replacement for this broken formula. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Baucus, Senator Hatch and all members of the Senate Finance Committee and Congress to eliminate this failed Medicare formula once and for all so we can turn our attention to developing a system that promotes the highest quality care for patients and achieves the best value for our nation’s health care spending.”

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Contact:

Heather Lasher Todd
AMA Media Relations
202-789-7430
Heather.Lasher.Todd@ama-assn.org

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