AMA targets Medicare physician payment cuts slated for March 1

The American Medical Association (AMA) in Washington, DC, is banding together with other physician organizations and senior groups to turn federal lawmakers' attention to the 21.2 percent Medicare physician payment cut that is slated to go into effect March 1 without congressional action, according to the American Medical News.

The AMA had wanted Congress to make long-term corrections to the Medicare physician payment system in a follow-up to the passage of a health reform bill. With health reform currently in limbo, the AMA isn't conceding defeat by seeking a short-term fix.

"We absolutely do not want a temporary fix," said Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, AMA immediate past president. "The price tag grows every time you do that. That's why we are in the $200 billion price tag range right now. That is not fiscally responsible. We do not want a five-year fix, or any short-term fix. We want a permanent fix."

The House has approved a bill creating such a permanent solution, but similar measures in the Senate have stalled. Healthcare industry watchers predict that the best physicians can hope for is a five-year freeze.

To learn more about Medicare physician payments:
- read the American Medical News article