AMA Wire

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012

This Week's News

Physicians unite in urging Congress to nullify 2 percent Medicare sequester

Physicians unite in urging Congress to nullify 2 percent Medicare sequester

The AMA is calling on Congress to nullify the 2 percent Medicare cut required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 in a letter co-signed by more than 100 state and specialty medical societies.

Addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the letter emphasizes that additional cuts to Medicare physician payments could not come at a worse time.

"The sequestration cut, coupled with uncertainty surrounding the looming 27 percent cut in payments to physicians who treat Medicare patients on Jan. 1, will hurt patient access to care and impede practice investments by physicians that are needed to improve our health care system," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a news release.

Also on Wednesday the AMA, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association released a report showing that as many as 766,000 jobs will be lost as a result of the decade-long sequester. Produced by economic research firm Tripp Umbach, the report predicts that these losses will impact every state and affect numerous economic sectors beyond health care. More than 496,000 jobs will be lost in the first year alone.

"Common sense tells you that this is not a good time to take a hatchet to health care, which saves American lives and puts Americans to work," Dr. Lazarus said during a Wednesday media event on the importance of resolving Medicare physician payment cuts.

Read more about the report.

As a result of the Budget Control Act, which imposes caps on all discretionary spending, an estimated $10.7 billion will be cut from the Medicare budget next year. The cuts will escalate each year, reaching approximately $16.4 billion in 2021.