AAFP Statement: Failure to Bring Medicare Bill to Senate Floor is a ‘Serious Blow’

Thursday, June 12, 2008

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

The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply disappointed that the Senate has failed to take up debate on the “Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008” (S. 3101.). This procedural breakdown is a serious blow to the efforts on the part of the physician community to reach a consensus before the disastrous 10.6 percent Medicare physician pay cut, now scheduled to take effect July 1.

That cut will have a domino effect, throwing the more than 44.2 million Medicare patients into confusion over the amount of their copayment for doctors’ appointments and forcing family physicians – who are predominantly small businesses – to cope with dramatically lower revenues to operate their offices at a time of skyrocketing costs of doing business.

We urge both Republicans and Democrats to immediately negotiate compromise legislation that meets the needs of both patients and the physicians who care for them. Only by acting quickly can Congress and the Administration ensure the stability of a health care program on which millions of elderly and disabled patients depend.

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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.

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).