AAFP Statement: 30-day Extension Will Not Resolve Medicare Physician Payment Issue

Monday, July 07, 2008

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

The American Academy of Family Physicians does not support a 30-day stop-gap measure that would freeze Medicare physician payment at the level paid before July 1.

Congress had six months to act on this vital legislation and didn’t. The U.S. House did so – with overwhelming, bipartisan support for HR 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. If the Senate could not act in a timely manner before the July 4 holiday, we have no expectation that a 30-day extension will provide the incentive to respond to Medicare patients’ need for stability in their health care coverage or physicians need to receive adequate payment for services rendered.

The Senate has a bill before it now. The U.S. Senate should pass that legislation now. By doing so, they will demonstrate their commitment to their elderly and disabled constituents’ access to health care services they need.

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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.

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