Family Physicians Applaud Passage Of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

 “For more than a decade, elderly and disabled Americans didn’t know whether they would continue to receive the medical care they needed. They couldn’t count on whether they could see the physician they’d had for years. But with today’s passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, these patients can put those worries behind them.

 “The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds the Senate and the House for passing MACRA. This legislation repeals the flawed sustainable growth rate formula that plagued Medicare physician payment for more than a decade. Once signed by President Obama, this new law will ensure that physicians receive stable and appropriate compensation for the services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries. Now physicians can focus on caring for their patients, and their patients can rest assured that care will not be interrupted.

 “Medicare beneficiaries comprise one out of four patients in a typical family physician’s practice; for some, elderly and disabled patients constitute six out of 10 of their patients.  These individuals depend on their family physicians for preventing illness, treating problems if they do arise, coordinating with other health care team members, and ensuring the right treatment from the right professional at the right time. By passing MACRA, Congress has ensured uninterrupted health access security to their elderly and disabled constituents.”

Equally important, MACRA extends funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program. In doing so, the legislation continues training in community-based settings rather than in specialty focused academic hospitals. This is a crucial step toward reforming the federal GME program to include training in the settings in which family physicians practice and individuals receive most of their health care.

By funding the National Health Service Corps, MACRA maintains scholarships and loan repayments for medical students who choose primary care and provide those services to those living in underserved areas. In doing so, the legislation continues to both build the primary care physician workforce and address the needs of Americans living in areas that struggle with primary care shortages.


Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or



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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 For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,