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U.S. Senate Fails Seniors on Health Care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2002
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224
“More and more family physicians simply cannot afford to provide health care while Medicare payments continue to decline. Patients will suffer the most.
“The Senate has known for more than a year that the formula was seriously flawed and needed substantial revision. Senators have had many opportunities to address the unintended consequences of this dysfunctional formula but have not done so. The House of Representatives passed language that would have helped and could have been adopted by the Senate, but senators failed to pass the bill. Now the reimbursement levels from Medicare for health care services will be cut another 4.4 percent, following this year’s reduction of 5.4 percent. Now seniors will pay a heavy price: dwindling health-care options, longer waits for fewer available physicians and other health care providers, longer trips to more distant health-care facilities, and more out-of-pocket expenses.
“Family physicians want to continue providing health care to their senior patients. We don’t want to have to turn anyone away. We have our own offices and we all have to pay our bills. We deeply object to being put in this position. This continued decrease in Medicare fee reimbursement to physicians will only hurt those who need medical care the most by forcing physicians to limit the number of elderly they are able to care for.“
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest 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 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.
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