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Senate Fiddles as Medicare Burns

Senate proposes six-month delay as Medicare claims hold expires and Medicare meltdown begins

For immediate release:
June 17, 2010

Statement attributable to:
Cecil B. Wilson, MD
President, American Medical Association

“Congress has broken its promise to America’s seniors and military families.  Today is the last day that Medicare can hold claims, and it is now 17 days past the Senate’s deadline to stop the cut. Tomorrow, physicians will start seeing a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments that will hurt seniors’ health care as physicians are forced to make difficult practice changes to keep their practice doors open.

“The Senate has been debating this issue for weeks and the latest proposal is a six-month delay of the cut.  Delaying the problem is not a solution.  Continued short-term actions are creating severe instability that harms seniors as physicians make decisions to protect their practices from Medicare’s volatility.  Continuing down this path just slaps a Band-Aid on a problem that needs urgent surgery.

“This week congressional offices are receiving hundreds of signed white lab coats from AMA member physicians as a symbolic reminder of the need for quick resolution to the immediate Medicare crisis and the importance of solving the problem through repeal of the broken Medicare physician payment formula.” 



Katherine Hatwell
AMA Media Relations