AAFP Statement: Short-Term Medicare Payment Patch Fails to Meet Americans’ Needs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Friday, December 23, 2011

Statement Attributable to:
Glen Stream, MD, MBI
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Eleventh-hour legislation that fails to meet the needs of constituents is no way to conduct the nation’s business. That is particularly true when millions of Americans’ health and welfare are at stake. But last-minute, inadequate legislation is exactly what Congress has done with passage of an absurdly short reprieve from the 27.4 percent cut in physician payment mandated by the deeply flawed sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare.

“Americans are tired of short-term, insufficient answers to long-standing problems. Americans want a permanent solution. They want Congress to look beyond the next few months or the next year. They want health security. Instead, they got a bitter holiday gift — an extra 60 days before health insecurity again sets in.

“It’s now time for Congress to put aside partisan interests, repeal the SGR and put a sustainable payment system in place that helps rebalance the primary care physician workforce with a 3 percent payment differential. It’s time to establish health security for elderly and disabled patients as well as the military families who depend on TRICARE. It’s time to follow through on previous commitments to permanently end this annual — and if history is an example, sometimes monthly — ordeal of temporary patches that drive up the ultimate cost of a meaningful, sustainable solution.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Stream, contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 131,400 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.

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