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.

# # #

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).