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Implications of Medicare Physician Pay Cut
Impact of Medicare cut on you, your family and friends
Elderly and disabled Americans are already struggling to gain access to medical care. A December 2007 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report to Congress said:
- 30 percent of Medicare patients have trouble finding a new primary care physician.
- 25 percent of Medicare patients have trouble getting timely appointments for preventive care and chronic conditions.
- Almost 20 percent have trouble getting timely appointments for illness or injury.
Failure of HR 6331 means that – as of July 1 – Medicare has cut physician payment by 10.6 percent for the rest of 2008 unless the Senate acts to retroactively prevent the cut.
- Without Congressional intervention, Medicare will cut an additional 5.4 percent from physician payment on Jan. 1, 2009. This means a total of 16 percent reduction in Medicare payment to doctors.
- The cost of keeping their medical practices open has risen 20 percent since 2001. During that time, Medicare payment to physicians has remained stagnant. That translates into the equivalent of a 20 percent Medicare pay cut since 2001.
- Physicians are less able to afford caring for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, they are faced with making a painful decision about whether to continue accepting new Medicare patients. A 2007 American Medical Association survey found:
- The 10.6 percent pay cut effective July 1 may prompt as many as 60 percent of physician respondents to limit the number of new Medicare patients they treat.
- If Medicare payment rates are cut by nearly 40 percent by 2015, 77 percent of physician respondents plan to limit the number of new Medicare patients they treat.
- The 10.6 percent pay cut effective July 1, may prompt as many as 40 percent of physician to limit the number of established Medicare patients they treat.
- If Medicare payment rates are cut by nearly 40 percent by 2015, 68 percent of physician respondents plan to limit the number of established Medicare patients they treat.
Medicare pays Medicare Advantage plans more than it costs to care for patients:
- 112 percent of fee-for-service costs in the communities they serve; two out of
- 10 Medicare Advantage plans are paid between 120 percent and 150 percent of fee-for-service costs.
- As a result of this overpayment all Medicare patients pay an extra $2 per month in Part B premiums.
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