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Debt ceiling agreement 'essential' to prevent disruption of care for Medicare & Medicaid patients
Date:7/7/2011

(Washington) "A debt ceiling agreement must be reached in time to avert an unprecedented suspension of funding for the millions of patients who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs," Virginia Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) told the president, vice president and Congressional leaders today. "I am writing to share our views on enactment of legislation to increase the debt ceiling linked to an agreement on policies to reduce the federal budget deficit."

ACP represents 130,000 internal medicine physician specialists in primary and comprehensive care of adults and adolescents and medical student members. It is the largest physician specialty society and second-largest physician membership organization in the United States.

Dr. Hood's four-page letter offered four principles that ACP believes are critical to developing a credible plan that would have the support of physicians and their patients:

  1. Congress and the administration must reach agreement on an increase in the debt ceiling in time to prevent any disruption for patients who depend on Medicare and Medicaid and for physicians and hospitals that provide services to them.
  2. A credible and fiscally responsible debt-ceiling agreement should eliminate the Medicare SGR, instead of counting savings from cuts that Congress has no intention of allowing to go into effect.
  3. Spending growth on Medicare and Medicaid must be reduced as part of a broad agreement on the budget, but not by cutting funding for essential programs to improve access, quality and ensure a sufficient supply of physicians, especially primary care physicians.
  4. Instead, Congress and the administration should partner with physicians to support bold initiatives to address the real cost-drivers behind increased federal health care spending, including providing physicians and patients with information on the comparative effectiveness
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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