AMA: President's 2008 Budget Ignores Medicare Physician Payment Problem; Cuts Funding to Cover Uninsured

WASHINGTON, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following statement was released today by Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., Board Chair of the American Medical Association:

“The AMA is deeply disappointed that President Bush has once again ignored an opportunity to right the wrongs in the current Medicare physician payment system by failing to call on Congress to stop the cuts and provide payments in line with practice costs. Current average Medicare payments to physicians are about the same as in 2001, and next year’s reimbursement will be cut 10 percent — unless Congress intervenes.

“Over the next eight years, Medicare payments to physicians will be slashed nearly 40 percent, while practice costs increase about 20 percent. Without adequate funding, physicians cannot make needed investments in health information technology and quality improvement, and seniors’ access to health care is placed at risk.

“As we work to provide health care coverage to all Americans, cutting funding for SCHIP is the wrong way to go. Currently there are nine million uninsured children, and nearly seven million of these kids are eligible for enrollment in government health care programs. This proposal ties states’ hands by narrowly focusing the program as they work on innovative ways to provide health care coverage for more of the uninsured.

“The AMA will continue its work with the Administration and Congress on public health issues to benefit the American people.”
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