AAFP Statement: Bush Health Care Budget Cuts Belie Bush ‘State of the Union’ Promises
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Rick Kellerman, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians
“The President Bush who earlier this week proposed massive budget cuts in health care and ignores the mounting failure of the Medicare payment system should have a conversation with the President Bush who called for bipartisan action to cover more Americans during last month’s State of the Union address.
“President Bush’s proposed budget cuts renege on the promise made to seniors by reducing how much Medicare will cover for their medical services and increasing their premiums and co-pays. The Bush budget would cover fewer children rather than more, reduce access to preventive care, and do nothing to facilitate the transition to electronic health records.
“It is particularly unfortunate that the Administration’s 2008 budget proposal offers no creative solution to what everyone knows is an unsustainable payment formula. Without a solution, the 43 million Americans on Medicare may not be able to obtain health care in the future.
“The 2008 budget proposal would sharply decrease Medicare reimbursement for health care provided to seniors by primary care physicians. According to an AAFP survey of more than 2,000 family physicians, one out of five family doctors have had to stop seeing new Medicare patients because of payment reduction.
“America’s family doctors are disappointed the Bush Administration’s proposed 2008 budget could not find room for important health care programs, further threatening health care access and affordability for the most vulnerable people in our country.
“I am deeply disappointed the Administration’s 2008 budget proposal decreases the reach of the States’ Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). By not providing the funding needed to maintain the program, the Bush Administration is threatening health care for indigent children. The AAFP believes the U.S. government should expand the SCHIP, not narrow its reach.
“The White House’s proposed elimination of funding for essential primary care training programs would mean fewer doctors to care for underserved populations – the elderly, poor, disabled and those who live in rural areas and the urban core. By zeroing out all funding for these Health Professions Grants for training in family medicine, the Administration is compromising access to quality, affordable heath care for Americans.
“We will continue to support the Administration’s call for the allocation of funding for health information technology. However, we must emphasize to the Administration that small physician practices, that struggle every day to keep the doors open, must receive financial incentives to make these types of technology investments feasible.
“The Bush Administration’s 2008 budget proposal shows a lack of recognition of the basic health care needs of patients and the doctors who care for them.”
“America’s family physicians call on Congress to reject budget proposals that will ultimately reduce access to health care. Investing in health care means a healthier, more productive society. The Administration’s budget significantly shortchanges this goal.
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Note to journalists: To interview Dr. Kellerman, please contact Leslie Champlin at (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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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.
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