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Medicare Cuts to Physicians Will Harm Seniors
Date:9/27/2007

AMA Makes 'House Call' to Kansas City, Urges Residents to Press Congress to Act Now

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Medical Association (AMA) National House Call campaign visits Kansas City today and urges residents to help press Congress to stop scheduled Medicare cuts that threaten patients' access to care. Unless Congress intervenes, Medicare will slash physician payments 15 percent over the next two years beginning on January 1, 2008.

A recent AMA survey found that 60 percent of physicians say they will be forced to limit the number of new Medicare patients they treat when the government cuts payment rates beginning next year.

"Payments to physicians aren't keeping pace with the costs of practicing medicine, and our concern is that, as shown in the government's own data, seniors are already finding it more difficult to find a new physician," said AMA Immediate Past President William G. Plested III, MD. "According to MedPAC, the government commission that advises Congress on Medicare issues, 24 percent of Medicare patients who are looking for a new primary care physician are having trouble finding one."

"Over the next two years Kansas' physicians will lose $140 million for the care of the state's nearly 380,000 Medicare patients and Missouri's physicians will lose $290 million for care of the state's 854,000 Medicare patients. If the cuts continue through 2016 as scheduled, Kansas will lose $2 billion in care for the elderly and disabled and Missouri will lose $4.6 billion. That's a cut of 40 percent in payments while the cost of patient care will rise 20 percent, according to the government's conservative estimates," said Dr. Plested.

"We're concerned that Congress is creating a crisis by allowing physician payment cuts at the same time that Medicare is about to see an unprecedented increase in enrollment. In 2010, the first wave of Baby Boomers start hitting the Medicare rolls, and we'
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SOURCE American Medical Association
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