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Georgia Senators Urged to Stop Medicare Cut Before March 1 Deadline
Date:2/16/2010

Prominent Georgia Physicians Join AMA To Call on Congress to Preserve Health Care Choices for Seniors, Military Families

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Making a plea to Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, two prominent Georgia physicians who head national physician organizations joined with American Medical Association (AMA) President J. James Rohack, M.D. to call for Senate action this month to stop a 21 percent Medicare cut that will hurt seniors and military families on March 1.  Joseph Stubbs, M.D., president of the American College of Physicians, is a practicing internist in Albany, GA, and Lamar McGinnis, M.D., president of the American College of Surgeons, is a surgeon from Atlanta, GA.

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"In two weeks, Georgia's 1.1 million Medicare patients and 441,000 TRICARE patients will face reduced access to care and choice of physicians when an automatic 21 percent payment cut to physicians begins," write the three presidents in a letter to Senators Chambliss and Isakson.  "As president of the AMA, joining with the presidents of two large national medical specialty organizations who dedicated their professional lives to caring for Georgia's patients, we are calling on Congress to take immediate, permanent action to repeal the broken Medicare physician payment formula before time runs out."

This year's 21 percent Medicare cut will hurt Georgia seniors and military families particularly hard as Georgia recently landed on the AMA's "Patients Access Hot Spots" list, which highlights areas where patients already face problems getting physician care.  Forty percent of Georgia's practicing physicians are over age 50, an age at which surveys show that many physicians consider reducing their patient care activities.  

The AMA, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons – along with AARP and the Military Officers Association of America – are calling on Congress to repeal the flawed payment formula that causes annual cuts and replace it with one that better reflects the increasing costs of patient care.  Fixing the formula once and for all will allow physicians to care for seniors and military families into the future.

Seven times in seven years, Congress has stepped in at the last minute to stop the annual cut before patients bear the brunt of the cut with reduced access and choice of physician.  Military families are at risk because TRICARE ties its payment rates to Medicare.

"Congress must stop kicking the can down the road with short-term fixes that increase the size of the cuts and the cost of reform," said Dr. Rohack.  "There's a real opportunity for leadership here – Senators Chambliss and Isakson can help inject security and stability into Medicare so that physicians can continue to care for seniors and military families. Now is the time to solve the problem, before the baby boomers begin reaching age 65 next year and start counting on Medicare."

Read the full letter at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/399/sgr-letter-to-georgia-senators.pdf

Follow AMA on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmerMedicalAssn.

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. Working together, the AMA's quarter of a million physician and medical student members are playing an active role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit www.ama-assn.org.

SOURCE American Medical Association


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SOURCE American Medical Association
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