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AMA Calls on Congress to Pass H.R. 3961, Access to Care for Seniors and Military Families at Stake

Campaign to pass bill includes new radio ads airing today

For immediate release
Nov. 13, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Urging swift passage of a bill to repeal the broken Medicare physician payment formula that threatens seniors’ access to care, the AMA added a new dimension to its Medicare campaign today with radio ads airing in markets across the nation.  In addition to the ads, the AMA is activating its nationwide grassroots network of patients and physicians and intensifying communication to physicians through online and social media.  The AMA and over 100 of its federation partners – state and specialty medical societies – sent a letter today to Speaker Pelosi, which calls for bill passage and states that “without Medicare physician payment reform, the goals of health system reform will remain out of reach.”   

Without congressional action, the formula will cause a 21 percent cut next year to physicians caring for seniors and military families, with more cuts in years to come.  The new radio ad reminds listeners that Congress made a promise to seniors that they will always have access to high-quality health care. The ad says “making sure our seniors and military families get the care they’ve earned is a promise worth keeping.”  It urges Americans to call their members of Congress to vote yes on the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act (H.R. 3961). Listen to the ad.

“Congress made a commitment to America’s seniors with the creation of Medicare, and they must fulfill it through repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula that threatens access to care and choice of physician,” said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D. “Seniors, baby boomers and military families are at risk of reduced access because the cuts will force physicians to make difficult practice decisions in order to keep their practice doors open.”

According to a recent AARP/AMA poll, nearly 90 percent of people age 50 and older are concerned that the current Medicare physician payment formula threatens their access to care. In just two years, the first wave of baby boomers will reach Medicare age and they will expect access to high-quality care and choice of physician.

“Fixing the problem once and for all is an essential element of comprehensive health reform,” said Dr. Rohack.  “Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress have said time and again that the formula must be repealed to ensure seniors’ access to care.  It’s time to make good on that promise.  Swift passage of H.R. 3961 is a crucial step to repeal of the payment formula this year, and we urge the House to vote yes on the bill next week.”

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View the AMA Federation letter to Speaker Pelosi.

Contact:

Katherine M. Hatwell
AMA Media Relations
202-789-7419