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Congress' 'disarray' makes it 'likely' that 27 percent Medicare cut will go in effect
Date:12/19/2011

Washington: Congress' "disarray and dysfunction" jeopardize access to medical care for many millions of seniors, disabled persons, and military families, said the American College of Physicians (ACP) in a statement released today and shared with House and Senate leadership. ACP is the largest physician specialty societyand second largest physician membership organizationin the United States, representing 132,000 internal medicine specialist physicians and medical student members.

Just 13 days remain before payments for physician services to Medicare and TriCare patients will be cut by 27.4 percent, yet Congressional efforts to prevent the cut, caused by Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, are in complete disarray.

Last week the House passed a bill, as part of a broader "extenders" package, to prevent the Medicare cuts for two years, replacing them with a small positive update. The House bill, though, included budget offsets and policy riders that were unacceptable to the Senate and White House. On Saturday, the Senate passed a short-term patch, as part of its extenders bill, which would have extended current Medicare payment rates for only two months. Today, the leadership of the House of Representatives stated that the Senate bill is unacceptable, and that it instead would seek an agreement on a year-long extension of Medicare payment rates and other expiring provisions. Yet the House has not presented a plan to resolve its differences with the Senate and the White House, and with the Senate already on recess, there is no clear path forward that would allow Congress to act before the 27.4 percent cut goes into effect on January 1.

"With each passing day, it appears more likely that Congress will just allow the 27.4 percent cut to go into effect, despite lawmakers' repeated promises all year that they would prevent it," said Dr. Virginia Hood, ACP's president. "Most physician practices are small businesses, and th
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Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser
jblaser@acponline.org
202-261-4572
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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