Six-Month Medicare Patch Slows Medicare Meltdown for Now

Jun 24, 2010, 19:24 ET from American Medical Association

Doesn't Solve the Medicare Mess Congress Has Created for Seniors, Boomers

WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement was released to day by Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., President, American Medical Association:



"The six-month Medicare patch Congress passed today is a very temporary reprieve for seniors and baby boomers who rely on the promise of Medicare. Delaying the problem is not a solution. It doesn't solve the Medicare mess Congress has created with a long series of short-term Medicare patches over the last decade – including four to avert the 2010 cut alone.  

"Seniors are already experiencing access problems as a result of the complete congressional mismanagement of Medicare over the years. About one in four Medicare patients looking for a new primary care physician are having trouble finding one. About one in five physicians are already limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat because of the instability and uncertainty of Medicare payment.

"In December, the Medicare physician payment cut will be a whopping 23 percent, increasing to nearly 30 percent in January. Congress is playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with seniors' health care. Sick patients can't wait. Congress must replace the broken payment system before the damage is done and cannot be reversed.

"The baby boomers begin entering Medicare in six months, and if the physician payment problem isn't fixed, these new Medicare patients won't be able to find a doctor to treat them.

"End the political posturing and fix the problem: Health care for America's seniors hangs in the balance. Congress needs to fix the broken Medicare physician payment system so physicians can  continue to do what they love – care for patients."

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SOURCE American Medical Association