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AMA News Room

April 10, 2015

AMA Statement on OACT Report Regarding H.R. 2

For immediate release:
April 10, 2015

Statement attributed to:
Robert M. Wah, MD
President, American Medical Association

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Office of the Actuary's (OACT) report on the estimated effects of H.R. 2 presents an argument for maintaining the status quo that is illogical, flawed and dangerous for patient access to high quality health care.

"H.R. 2 will ensure access to care for millions of Medicare and TRICARE patients and create pathways for physicians to implement new models of care delivery and payment that have been proven to improve quality and reduce costs in the private sector. The legislation also includes reforms that incentivize improvements in quality and efficiency for those who decide to remain in fee for service models. It is far better than current law and will ensure the sustainability of the Medicare program.

"The OACT report assumes that under current law, which requires an immediate 21 percent Medicare payment cut, physicians will receive upwards adjustments annually for decades to come, which is simply unbelievable given our long history with the flawed SGR formula. Fluctuations in just two of the factors that affect SGR calculations—GDP growth and Medicare spending growth—are far too unpredictable to make this a reasonable assumption.

"The report also fails to take into account the long-range negative impact such a drastic payment cut would have on quality and access for Medicare beneficiaries, or the many options H.R. 2 will make available to physicians for avoiding onerous penalties under current law and the significant positive updates that high performers can earn.

"The gains for patients and physicians expected after the passage of H.R. 2 are real. On the other hand, OACT's long-term projections spanning decades into the future are based on assumptions about the SGR formula that simply defy all logic and experience.   

"The American Medical Association continues to urge the U.S. Senate to rapidly pass H.R.2 so seniors, military personnel, children and low income adults can continue to access the care they need and deserve."

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Media Contact:

Randi Kahn
AMA Media & Editorial
(202) 789-7442
Randi.kahn@ama-assn.org

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