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AMA News Room

March 1, 2013

AMA: Sequestration Cuts Cause Real Pain for Medicare Patients, Physicians

For immediate release:
March 1, 2013

Statement attributable to:
Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD
President, American Medical Association

“Our lawmakers have failed to act, and Medicare patients and physicians will now feel real pain in the form of new cuts that come at an already difficult time for the nation's economy. A report released jointly by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association found up to 766,000 health care and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of the two percent cut in Medicare resulting from sequestration.

“The across-the-board cut will hit physicians particularly hard because of the fundamentally flawed Medicare physician payment system. Since 2001 Medicare payments for physician services have only increased by four percent, while the cost of caring for patients has gone up by more than 20 percent. A two percent cut widens the already enormous gap between what Medicare pays and the actual cost of caring for seniors.

“Physicians continue to face drastic cuts from the SGR, and an additional two percent cut coming from sequestration further threatens access to care for patients and prevents needed improvements in Medicare. Creating a larger gap between Medicare payment rates and the cost of delivering care will stifle innovation, reduce access to care and increase dysfunction within the Medicare program. At the same time that Medicare physician payment rates have been frozen, physicians need to make investments in their practices to help design, lead and adopt new models of care delivery that can increase quality and reduce costs now and in the future. Further cuts are counterproductive and stifle important progress while placing an unsustainable burden on physician practices.”

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Contact:

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

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