Weighing In on Doc Fix

AMA Statement on 10-Month Delay of Medicare Physician Payment Cut

Peter W. Carmel, MD — American Medical Association President

“The House and Senate conference committee agreement averts a 27 percent cut on March 1, but it represents a serious missed opportunity to permanently replace the flawed Medicare physician payment formula and protect access to care for military families and seniors. People outside of Washington question the logic of spending nearly $20 billion to postpone one cut for a higher cut next year, while increasing the cost of a permanent solution by about another $25 billion.

“Congress had an opportunity to permanently end this problem, which is the sound, fiscally prudent policy choice. We appreciate efforts by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who publicly supported a framework for a permanent end to this perennial problem. We are deeply disappointed that Congress chose to just do another patch – kicking the can, growing the problem and missing a clear opportunity to protect access to care for patients. Shortly after the coming elections, access to care for seniors and military will again be threatened by an even larger cut, and members of Congress will need to take swift action to end the broken formula.”


MGMA-ACMPE Statement on Temporary Measure

Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACP, FACMPE — President & CEO of Medical Group Management Association - American College of Medical Practice Executives

“We are deeply disappointed that Congress has missed a unique opportunity to repeal the SGR once and for all and instead has chosen political expediency over patients. Physician practices now face a mounting 35 percent payment threat from Medicare in 2013 and Congress has dug itself a $400 billion hole. Group practices are telling us that this congressional decision exacerbates an already unhealthy environment that limits their ability to plan for the future and balance their practice’s fiscal health with their desire to continue to serve Medicare beneficiaries.” 



Rich Umbdenstock — American Hospital Association President and CEO

While we support ensuring that physicians will not see their Medicare payments reduced, we are extremely disappointed that once again Congress is putting seniors’ access to hospital services in jeopardy through arbitrary reductions to hospitals.

Today’s proposal would add an unnecessary strain to hospitals that care for vulnerable populations. It limits therapy services provided in hospitals and assistance that helps defray Medicare and Medicaid costs to low-income seniors. This is shortsighted and overlooks the critical role hospitals play in supporting a broad range of services to the elderly.

While we are pleased a number of expiring hospital provisions were extended, we need to ensure that all of the policies are maintained for the remainder of 2012. We need thoughtful approaches to improving healthcare not indiscriminate cuts that harm patients’ access to care.