AMA Wire

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Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

Special Feature

AMA to launch Fix Medicare Now campaign as Congress returns to capital

Fix Medicare Now

The AMA is embarking on a grassroots campaign that will ramp up this fall to put concerted pressure on members of Congress to reform the Medicare physician payment system.

An important component of the Fix Medicare Now campaign will be a new interactive website, which will launch next week when Congress returns from its five-week summer recess. The website will engage both patients and physicians in calling for an end to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and the establishment of a new system that fosters high-quality care.

The website also will function as:

  • A recruitment tool that enlists Americans from all walks of life and across the country to sign up and join the campaign via social media channels and a variety of online marketing efforts
  • An advocacy platform that integrates grassroots alerts and calls to action for activists to email or call their lawmakers and use social media to spur them to action
  • An interactive information portal that will house videos, online infographics and other resources that effectively make the case for Medicare reform

In August the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill to repeal Medicare’s failed SGR formula, enhance health care quality and make available new models of care delivery and payment. The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee also are expected to issue their own versions of the legislation this fall.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the cost to eliminate the SGR is nearly half the price of repeal at this time last year.

"From a financial standpoint, the timing is good," AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in a video interview last week with Internal Medicine News. "There's ... excellent bipartisan support now. And ... America's physicians have united around the pathway."

The AMA and 110 other medical associations have been urging Congress to adopt a set of key principles for reforming Medicare. The principles emphasize the need for flexible care delivery and payment models that physicians can use to help lower costs and improve their patients’ quality of care, regardless of their practice size or setting. The AMA will continue to work with Congress toward aligning legislation with these principles.

Now is a critical time for Congress to adopt legislation that preserves access to care for America’s seniors, allows investments in needed technology and provides for new models of care. Read AMA Wire next week for a link to the new website, where you can join thousands of your colleagues in welcoming Congress back to the capital with a powerful message: Fix Medicare Now.