April 16, 2010
Statement attributable to:
J. James Rohack, M.D
President, American Medical Association
"Late last night Congress again delayed the 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut until June 1 to avoid a Medicare meltdown for seniors. Repeated delays and continued uncertainty combined with the fact that Medicare payments, even without the 21 percent cut, have not kept up with the cost of providing care to seniors demonstrates the need for a permanent solution to this annual problem.
"Congress must now turn toward solving this problem once and for all through repeal of the broken payment formula that will hurt seniors, military families and the physicians who care for them. It is impossible for physicians to continue to care for all seniors when Medicare payments fall so far below the cost of providing care. In an informal poll, 68 percent of physicians tell the AMA they will be forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they can care for. Already, about one in four Medicare patients seeking a new primary care physician are experiencing difficulty finding one.
"Fixing the Medicare physician payment problem is essential to the security and stability of Medicare. If the formula is not repealed, the problem will continue to grow. The AMA is working with leaders in the House and Senate, and with the administration, to resolve this problem once and for all to preserve access to care for America's seniors and military families covered by TRICARE." ###