The AAFP has joined with several other leading physician organizations to launch a coordinated campaign to generate support for the elimination of the sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula as part of any deficit-reduction plan enacted by Congress.
The Academy and 10 other physician-led organizations -- AMA, American Academy of Dermatology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and Medical Group Management Association -- have released a message and a YouTube video that spells out the dangers of failing to repeal the SGR.
Both the message and video have been sent to media outlets and distributed to congressional offices. In addition, the AAFP has sent a Speak Out alert to its key contact and Connect for Family Medicine members, urging them to e-mail the message and a link to the video to their respective House and Senate members to underscore that the SGR must be repealed now.
"Congress has a choice: Fix the SGR now or ask taxpayers to bear a bigger burden," says the message. Although the organizations acknowledge that fixing the federal deficit will require difficult decisions in terms of lowering government spending, they note "there is one fiscally responsible step that Congress can take now so that Medicare patients can keep their doctors, and avoid adding even more to Medicare spending and the national debt -- they can fix Medicare's broken physician payment formula now instead of later."
"Actions taken by Congress over the past decade to prevent steep cuts in Medicare payments to physicians and preserve access to care in the short-term have been necessary but short-sighted," says the message. "Each time a stop-gap measure has been employed, the cost of permanently reforming a broken payment system grows. Meanwhile access concerns are always looming, and the future cost to American taxpayers keeps growing. In fact, if the short-term fixes continue, the cost of eliminating the Medicare payment formula, known as the SGR, will be half a trillion dollars in just a few years."
The video consists of a series of dramatic words and phrases that flash across the screen and explain why the SGR must be repealed now as compelling music plays in the background.
The latest campaign to repeal the SGR comes after the AAFP and 16 other physician groups circulated a letter last week commending a bipartisan group of Senators for including repeal of the SGR in a deficit-reduction plan.
"Failure to recognize the impact of the SGR on the long-term financial health of the Medicare program would be to ignore one of the most pressing financial and health policy issues facing our nation," the message says.