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AMA Stands in Support of Permanently Fixing Flawed Medicare Payment Formula

AMA President J. James Rohack, MD, urges Senate to pass S. 1776 at Capitol Hill news conference

For immediate release:
Oct. 20, 2009

Dr. Rohack

AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D., urges support for S. 1776, which lays the foundation to repeal the flawed Medicare payment formula, at a Capitol Hill news conference with Senator Stabenow, AARP and the Military Officers Association of America.

Statement attributable to:
J. James Rohack, MD
President, American Medical Association

“Senator Stabenow is a long-time champion for patients and physicians, and the AMA enthusiastically supports her bill that lays the foundation to permanently fix the Medicare physician payment formula and keeps the program strong as millions of baby boomers enter Medicare in just two years.

“As we work to improve the health system, permanent repeal of the payment formula is essential to ensuring the security and stability of Medicare. On January first, Medicare physician payments are scheduled to be cut by 21 percent. The 2009 Medicare Trustees' report projects payment cuts to physicians of about 40 percent over the next five years—forcing physicians to make tough decisions.

“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. I want to recognize AARP for their strong commitment to solving this problem. I also want to thank the Military Officers Association of America for their support and commitment to access to care and choice of physician for military families.

“While short-term fixes have temporarily averted widespread access problems, they have also grown the size of the problem – and the cost of reform. This bill does away with past budget gimmicks and instead lays the foundation for fiscally honest and responsible repeal of the broken formula.

“The AMA is committed to fixing the Medicare payment problem once and for all for seniors and the physicians who care for them. There is widespread agreement that the formula is broken and needs to be repealed. We urge the Senate to pass S. 1776. The next few days are critical in helping to secure a stable health-care system for America’s seniors, baby boomers and military families. Congress needs to fix this problem once and for all.  No more band-aids.  It’s time for permanent repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula.”

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Kate Cox
Public Information Officer
AMA Media Relations
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