AAFP Statement: Medicare Legislation Helps Avert Potentially Devastating Pay Cut

Friday, June 13, 2008

Statement Attributable to:
James King, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians

The American Academy of Family Physicians appreciates efforts by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to avert the 10.6 percent reduction in Medicare payment to physicians, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Legislation proposed by Sen. Grassley would prevent this pay cut in 2008 and provide for a 1.1 percent increase in Medicare payment to physicians beginning in 2009.

Such legislation will help ensure that family physicians can continue to care for Medicare beneficiaries without fear of bankruptcy.

Family physicians and their primary care colleagues are the foundation on which America’s health care system rests. Numerous studies have demonstrated that a primary care-based health system improves patient outcomes and contains health costs. Ensuring the continued viability of family physicians and other primary care physicians is integral to successfully crafting health system reform.

We look forward to working with Sen. Grassley on provisions that will reinforce primary care as the foundation of America’s health system.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only 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(www.familydoctor.org).