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Medicare Cuts to Physicians Will Harm Washington Seniors
Date:9/18/2007

ton cannot afford to lose their doctors," said W. Hugh Maloney, MD, President of the Washington State Medical Association. "About 45 percent of Washington's practicing physicians are over 50 -- an age at which surveys have shown many physicians consider reducing their patient care activities. Cuts in Medicare payments that make it difficult for physicians to meet their practice costs could be the deciding factor for many to cut back or retire."

"These first cuts are just the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Plested. "The government plans to cut Medicare payments to physicians about 40 percent over the next nine years, while practice costs increase 20 percent. During that time, Washington state stands to lose almost $4 billion for medical care for Medicare patients. If that happens, 77 percent of physicians say they will be forced to limit the number of new Medicare patients they can treat."

"We are deeply concerned about patients' access to care in our state. Clearly, the Medicare access problem will become more severe as physicians find it increasingly difficult to subsidize this portion of their practice. Already in numerous counties across Washington state patients on Medicare are having trouble finding a physician who will see them," said Dr. Maloney. "Baby Boomers will begin aging into Medicare in just three years. Medicare cuts increase the likelihood that there won't be enough doctors to care for the huge influx of new Medicare patients," Dr. Plested said.

"Congress needs to act to preserve seniors' access to care and put Medicare on a firm foundation for the future. They must keep their promise to America's seniors," said Dr. Plested.


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SOURCE American Medical Association
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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