Specialty Physicians Urge Commission on Fiscal Responsibility to Reconsider Cuts to Medicare Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Alliance of Specialty Medicine today sent a letter to Chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility urging them to reconsider proposed cuts to health care services. In an effort to cut the national debt by nearly $4 trillion, the Commission has placed a large share of the burden on the health care industry, specifically cutting Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

"As a physician I have an ethical responsibility to provide the highest quality care to Medicare beneficiaries," said Dr. Alex B. Valadka, a neurosurgeon from Austin, TX. "I make decisions about the kind of care a patient receives based on what is best for the patient. I don't determine the cost of the care. But if Medicare says I can't do something, then the patient suffers."

The proposed plan set forth by the Commission targets physician reimbursements, which currently accounts for only 9.6 percent of Medicare expenditures. A reduction in reimbursement would leave many senior citizens without access to the care they need and could lead to a long-term shortage of physicians in the future. Currently physicians absorb a 20 percent gap in the difference between Medicare reimbursements and the cost of providing care to seniors, any further reduction could make it impossible to provide the care at all.

The Alliance continues to encourage Congress to establish a permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula (SGR), which would update physician payment rates for treating Medicare patients. The Alliance has also called for the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a government entity created by the Affordable Care Act to cut Medicare expenditures. The Alliance believes these Medicare cuts would further endanger seniors' access to doctors and could lead to a de facto rationing of care.

The Alliance of Specialty Medicine is an organization of national medical societies, based in Washington, DC, which represents specialty physicians in the United States. This non-partisan group is dedicated to the development of sound federal health care policy that fosters patient access to the highest quality specialty care. Member organizations include: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; American Association of Neurological Surgeons; American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American Gastroenterological Association; American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery; American Urological Association; Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations; Congress of Neurological Surgeons; National Association of Spine Specialists; Heart Rhythm Society; and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. For more information, please visit www.specialtydocs.org.


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