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AAFP Launches Grass-roots Campaign to Block Pending Medicare Cuts
Academy Urges Members to Speak Out on 30 Percent Reductions
AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., said the combination of the SGR and sequestration cuts "threatens the financial viability of many family physician practices," potentially decreasing the availability of primary care services for both Medicare and Tricare patients.
- The AAFP has launched a grass-roots campaign to block impending Medicare physician payment reductions called for by the sustainable growth rate and the sequestration provision.
- If enacted, the reductions would result in a nearly 30 percent reduction in the Medicare physician payment rate by early January.
- The AAFP has issued Speak Out alerts giving members an expedited way to reach their representatives in Washington to voice opposition to the impending reductions.
"Medicare's flawed SGR formula has pummeled physicians' financial future with threatened cuts for nearly 11 years," says a letter from Stream to members. "These last-minute patches are not acceptable, and a permanent solution is needed. Family physicians need a dependable payment system to support care delivery."
The letter also describes the sequestration as a "heavy handed and inefficient way of addressing our nation's deficit troubles. The issue should be tackled with a comprehensive and bipartisan approach that results in a solution that supports the health of our communities."
The AAFP is providing letters and talking points to help members deliver their messages to Congress. The Academy also is urging members, when reaching out to congressional representatives, to explain how the impending reductions will affect their patients and practices.
A new analysis from a national consulting firm in Pittsburgh highlights the importance of the grass-roots effort by AAFP members. The Tripp Umbach analysis (16-page PDF; About PDFs) demonstrates the effects of sequestration on the U.S. health care system and the U.S. economy.
The analysis notes that the 2 percent sequester, which is scheduled to remain in effect from 2013 until 2021, will trigger Medicare reductions that will grow from $10.7 billion in 2013 to $16.4 billion in 2021.
Based on the model employed by the analysis, the first year of funding cuts will result in job losses of more than 496,000 jobs. "The employment models show that employment losses increase as the cuts do. By 2021, the loss of 2 percent in Medicare funding … will translate into more than 766,000 fewer jobs in the U.S. economy."
The overall job losses pertain to health care employees as well as other jobs supported by the purchases of health care organizations and their employees -- the so-called multiplier effect, says the report.