AMA: Trustees Report Shows Repeal of Medicare Physician Payment Formula Needed Now

For immediate release:
May 13, 2011

Statement Attributable to:
J. James Rohack, MD
Immediate Past President, American Medical Association

"The Medicare Trustees report leaves no doubt that the time to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula is now - to keep from digging a deeper financial hole and to preserve access to care for patients.

"Physicians who care for Medicare patients form the foundation of this critical program, and the Trustees confirmed today that they face a steep payment cut of nearly 30 percent on January 1. This cut is the highest ever scheduled under the broken Medicare physician payment system, and it threatens access to care for our nation's seniors, military families, people with disabilities and the baby boomers now entering Medicare. The longer it takes to reform this system, the greater the cost.

"Across the board cuts in Medicare do not get to the root of the cost challenge, and can hamper patients' ability to receive care. Instead of focusing only on cuts, the ultimate goal should be to achieve better value for our health care spending.

"The AMA supports a three step process to reform the Medicare physician payment system, including repealing the failed sustainable growth rate formula, enacting a five year period of stable Medicare physician payments, and testing of demonstration and pilot projects that would form the basis for a new physician payment system.

"We will continue to work with policy-makers on both sides of the aisle to replace the broken Medicare physician payment system with one that better reflects the costs and practice of 21st century medical care, and provides stability for physicians and their Medicare patients."



Heather Lasher Todd
Public Information Officer
AMA Media Relations