AAFP Statement: AAFP Calls on Congress to Act Now on Medicare Physician Payment

Friday, January 29, 2010

Attributable to:
Lori Heim, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“For nine years, Congress has recognized that the Medicare physician payment system is seriously flawed. For nine years, they have failed to fix it.

“Instead, Congress has allowed the Medicare system to limp along with inadequate, annual reimbursement patches that dig a deeper financial hole in the federal budget and increase the threat to Medicare beneficiaries’ health care security.

“Now Congress has one month to act before the sustainable growth rate formula in the current law requires Medicare to slash physician payment by 21.2 percent. Surveys have consistently shown that physicians cannot sustain such deep cuts in Medicare payment.

“Without immediate action, Congress will renege on its promise of ensuring access to health care for their elderly and disabled constituents.

“The American Academy of Family Physicians call on Congress to act now to avert the drastic March 1 cut and to enact Medicare payment that helps keep doctors’ doors open and ensures access to care for millions of Americans who rely on Medicare.”

Editor’s note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Heim, please contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest 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 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(familydoctor.org).