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New AMA Survey Finds Medicare Cuts Will Hurt Seniors

enough doctors to care for the huge influx of new Medicare patients."

The AMA is helping Americans share their concerns about the Medicare cuts with a Web site http: www.patientsactionnetwork.org and phone number 1-888-434-6200 that puts patients in touch with their senators and congressional representative.

This week, as Congress returns from its recess, the AMA is publishing a full-page ad in Capitol Hill papers to remind lawmakers of the urgent need for action. The AMA ad features a Medicare patient with high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels with the headline, "This patient thinks she's healthy. A doctor would tell her she's not. Too bad she may not have a doctor." Also this week, the AMA's "House Call" program hits the road, with physicians on the AMA Board of Trustees visiting local communities to raise awareness of the problem.

The impact of the cuts will reverberate beyond seniors who rely on Medicare. America's military families will also be hurt, as the military health insurance program, TRICARE, faces the same physician payment cuts as Medicare. In fact, all patients should be concerned about the Medicare cuts, as more than two-thirds of physicians tell the AMA they will defer purchases of information technology next year.

Over the life of the cuts, about eight in 10 physicians report they will have to forgo this important purchase used to improve health care quality. Also troubling, more than half of physicians say they will reduce their practice staff, and 14 percent will completely get out of patient care when Medicare cuts hit next year.

"Physicians are working hard to improve quality of care for patients, but this short-sighted government payment policy makes it difficult to purchase new technologies used to help improve care," said Dr. Wilson. "Congress needs to take a long, hard look at how Medicare cuts affect seniors who rely on the program for health care, and
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