Nov. 15, 2010
Washington, D.C. - As Congress reconvenes for its "lame-duck" legislative session today, the American Medical Association (AMA) is urging Congress to make preserving seniors' health care a top priority by stopping a steep Medicare cut to physicians. Without action before December 1, physicians will face a 25 percent Medicare payment cut that will hurt seniors' health care.
"On behalf of seniors and their physicians, the AMA is urging Congress to act before a Medicare meltdown begins on December 1," said AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, M.D. "Congressional action this month is the only way to stop the Medicare cut. Congress needs to keep Medicare strong for our senior patients and ensure that baby boomers will have access to physicians when they begin receiving their Medicare cards for the first time this January."
This week, the AMA's new print ad will be published in Washington, D.C. publications, putting the issue front and center for members of Congress. The ad says "They did it for us. Congress needs to do something for them" and goes on to say that "they defended our freedom, raised our families, built our communities" and calls on Congress to act before November 30 to stop the cut. The AMA is coordinating a "White Coat Wednesday" on November 17 when physicians from across the nation will call their members of Congress to remind them that their actions have real-world consequences for seniors who rely on Medicare.
"Everyone in Congress knows that this cut will cause problems for seniors, and the AMA is working to turn that concern into action before time runs out this month," said Dr. Wilson. "Physicians are united on this issue, and by calling their elected officials on Wednesday they can let them know first hand the impact a 25 percent cut will have on their ability to care for Medicare patients."
The AMA's new public poll found that 94 percent of Americans are concerned about a looming Medicare cut to doctors, and four out of five adults want Congress to act immediately to stop the Medicare physician payment cut. Concerned patients can contact their members of Congress through the AMA's Patients Action Network by calling 888-434-6200. The AMA is calling on Congress to stop the cut for at least 13 months, which will provide time to begin working on a permanent solution in the new year.
"This cut could not come at a worse time, as we are now in Medicare's physician enrollment session for next year," said Dr. Wilson. "Physicians want to care for seniors, but they are making decisions now about their Medicare participation status while they face a 25 percent cut. There is already a 20 percent gap between Medicare payments and the increasing cost of caring for seniors, and a cut of this magnitude could be the tipping point for physicians making difficult decisions in order to keep their medical practice doors open."
American Medical Association