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ACP urges Congress 'to halt across-the-board sequestration cuts in health programs'
Date:9/17/2012

(Washington) "Halt the across-the-board sequestration cuts in health care programs that are scheduled for Jan. 2, 2013 and instead enact alternative approaches that address the true underlying causes of rising health care costs, like reducing marginal and ineffective health care services and reforming our medical liability system," the American College of Physicians (ACP) today urged leaders from both the House and the Senate.

Representing 133,000 internal medicine specialist physicians, David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, president of ACP, said in a 2-page letter , "These cuts will have a devastating impact on public health, disease prevention, and medical research efforts, as well as essential programs to increase the number of primary care physicians. The ability of this nation's safety-net and teaching hospitals to provide medical care to the poor and to train the next generation of physicians will also be put at risk."

Dr. Bronson noted that "by imposing a nearly 30 percent reduction in Medicare physician paymentswhen combined with the cut from the Sustainable Growth Rate formula set to go into effect on Jan. 1sequestration will sharply reduce seniors' access to physicians. It also will reduce access to care for the families of marines, soldiers, airman, and sailors because TRICARE (the federal program that provides coverage to military families) by law must pay physicians the same rates as Medicare. When Medicare is cut, TRICARE is also cut."

Placing a perspective on his organization's suggestions, Dr. Bronson said, "ACP recognizes and supports the critical need to reduce our nation's deficit, but arbitrary across-the-board cuts that do not take into account the importance or effectiveness of any particular program are the wrong way to go about it."

In addition to reducing access to care for seniors and military families, the letter noted that the across-the-board sequestration cuts will do grave harm to health care for peop
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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