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Medicare Trustees' Report Reminder That Steep Medicare Physician Cuts Are Around the Corner

Congress must act soon before seniors’ health care is hurt

For immediate release:
Aug. 5, 2010

Statement Attributable to:
J. James Rohack, MD
Immediate Past-President, American Medical Association

“Today’s Medicare Trustees’ report reinforces that steep Medicare physician payment cuts are right around the corner, with a 23 percent cut this December and another six percent cut on top of that the next month. This report is just the latest warning bell for members of Congress who know the Medicare physician payment system is broken. Congress has four months left to act before the steep 23 percent cut to physicians begins, hurting seniors’ health care.  Congress can shore-up physicians’ confidence in Medicare and help preserve seniors’ health care by abandoning the practice of passing stop-gap measures that ultimately make the problem worse. Patients and physicians need Congress to focus now on a long-term strategy for repealing the flawed payment formula that projects the steep cuts.

“These cuts fly in the face of what physicians are working hard to achieve for America’s seniors – longer, healthier lives.  Physicians are already being forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they can care for as short-term delays of the cut wreak havoc on the system.  About one in five physicians overall, and nearly one-third of primary care physicians, say they are now limiting the number of Medicare patients in their practice due to the ongoing threat of future cuts and inadequate Medicare rates.

“This year’s report highlights the positive fiscal impact of the Obama administration’s action to remove physician-administered drugs from the broken payment formula, an action that the AMA had long called-for. This is an important step on the long and winding road to permanent repeal of the broken Medicare physician payment formula, and we urge members of Congress to take note and fix the formula once and for all.”  



Katherine M. Hatwell
AMA Media Relations

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