AAFP Statement: 30-day Extension Will Not Resolve Medicare Physician Payment Issue

Monday, July 07, 2008

Statement Attributable to:
James King, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians

The American Academy of Family Physicians does not support a 30-day stop-gap measure that would freeze Medicare physician payment at the level paid before July 1.

Congress had six months to act on this vital legislation and didn’t. The U.S. House did so – with overwhelming, bipartisan support for HR 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. If the Senate could not act in a timely manner before the July 4 holiday, we have no expectation that a 30-day extension will provide the incentive to respond to Medicare patients’ need for stability in their health care coverage or physicians need to receive adequate payment for services rendered.

The Senate has a bill before it now. The U.S. Senate should pass that legislation now. By doing so, they will demonstrate their commitment to their elderly and disabled constituents’ access to health care services they need.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).