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President Obama Calls on Congress to Act Quickly to Stop Medicare Cut

Recommits to permanent Medicare physician payment reform in a tele-town hall with seniors

For immediate release:
June 8, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, President Obama stood with seniors and their physicians by calling on Congress to act quickly to stop a 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut.

President Obama recognized the problem, saying “temporarily, we’ve got to make sure that your doctor is getting reimbursed so that they can stay in business and keep their doors open.” President Obama also made clear that “unless Congress passes a bill right away, suddenly Medicare doctors are going to get a 21 percent cut in their reimbursements because all that health care inflation had built up over time.  Well, we’re now in this situation again.  And we’ve got to fix this permanently.”

The president expanded on his remarks, saying: “But what we shouldn’t do is have this guillotine hanging over their heads every year where they’re having to figure out, am I am going to get reimbursed or is suddenly my income going to drop by 20 percent?  Because what will happen is, more and more people will say, I don’t want to be a Medicare doctor, I don’t want to be a primary care physician for somebody on Medicare, because it’s going to make my income unstable.  That’s something that we’ve got to fix.”

“Without action this week by the Senate, Medicare will have no choice but to begin paying physicians at a 21 percent lower payment rate,” said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D. in response to President Obama’s remarks. “The impact on seniors is clear; the Senate’s failure to act will force physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients they can treat. Already, 31 percent of primary care physicians are limiting care to Medicare patients, according to a new online survey of physicians who treat Medicare patients.”

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Contact:
Katherine Hatwell
AMA Media Relations
202-789-7419

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