The following statement is attributable to:
Bruce A. Scott, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

“Among the payment options the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released today in its report to Congress, all would be a significant improvement over the current law. We commend MedPAC for recognizing an unsustainable combination: an inadequate baseline and a lack of an inflation-based update. In exploring ways to strengthen Medicare for patients and physicians, MedPAC has alerted Congress that Medicare needs to be put on a healthier path.

 “However, the AMA remains concerned that an update less than the full inflation rate, as is the case with both approaches under MedPAC’s consideration, would force physicians to make difficult choices about how to keep the lights on and care for America’s seniors and persons with disabilities. This would be even more problematic following years of declining payment rates and rising inflation. 

 “Instead, the AMA strongly urges (PDF) MedPAC to support— and Congress to pass—H.R. 2474 “Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act,” which would update Medicare physician payment by 100 percent of the Medicare Economic Index. Such an update would allow physicians to keep pace with rising practice costs so they can continue to invest in their practices and implement innovative strategies to provide high-value, patient-centered care.

 “As the commission pointed out, the gap is growing between what Medicare pays physicians and the actual costs associated with delivering high-quality care. When adjusted for inflation in practice costs, Medicare physician payment declined 29 percent (PDF) from 2001 to 2024, or by 1.5 percent per year on average. Physician practices cannot continue to absorb increasing costs while their payment rates dwindle. According to the Medicare Trustees, if physician payment does not change, access to Medicare participating physicians will become a significant issue in the long term.

 “In addition, the AMA strongly agrees with MedPAC’s concerns about the expiration of the bonus payments for physicians who participate in alternative payment models (APMs). Congress should continue to invest in these payments to provide the funding physicians need to transition to APMs, including carrying this momentum forward into specialties, geographic areas, and patient communities that have not yet had the opportunity to participate in APMs.”

Note: The AMA House of Delegates this week declared Medicare reform as its top advocacy priority.

Media Contact:

Jack Deutsch

ph: (202) 789-7442

[email protected]

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.