AMA Wire

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012

This Week's News

AMA CEO: Congress can't keep using "zombie financing" for Medicare pay

AMA CEO: Congress cant keep using zombie financing for Medicare pay

The AMA remains committed to eliminating Medicare's failed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD (left), underscored last week during a health care panel discussion hosted by Politico.

So far, Congress has addressed the recurring threat of Medicare physician payment cuts with "zombie financing," Dr. Madara said. "It keeps on coming back from the dead each year in worse and worse form."

"If you're really uncertain whether you're going to face something like a 27 percent cut, and you go through that year after year," he said, "it puts practices at risk and, frankly, puts our elderly at risk."

Dr. Madara made these remarks during the Nov. 27 Politico Pro panel discussion about Congress' work on health care issues for the remainder of 2012 and what to expect in 2013.

In addition to ending the SGR formula, Dr. Madara explained the importance of transitioning Medicare into an improved payment and delivery system that rewards high-quality care. He also discussed the need to preserve graduate medical education funding to ensure a stable physician workforce.

Dr. Madara also pointed to the progress that has been made—and must continue to be made—in improving health outcomes for patients, and he noted the potential of personalized medicine to aid in achieving those goals.

Watch a video of the panel discussion.