AAFP launches renewed push to block Medicare payment cut and repeal SGR
With the U.S. Congress back in session after its holiday break, AAFP has launched a renewed campaign to address Medicare physician payment. Unless Congress steps in again to block the pay cut triggered by the sustainable growth rate formula, physicians will see their payment for caring for Medicare patients reduced by 27.4 percent come March 1. Congress passed a short-term patch in late December as part of a larger bill that also extended payroll tax cuts and federal unemployment benefits, but that fix expires on Feb. 29.
Compounding an already bleak financial situation, if a 27.4 percent reduction goes through, it could set off a cascade of cuts by private insurers who base their physician payment to Medicare rates. AAFP reports that it could put more than one in 10 family physician practices out of business.
AAFP is urging the Conference Committee on the Payroll Tax Extension to propose a stable Medicare physician payment system that starts with a long-term extension of current payment while Congress replaces the flawed Medicare payment formula, and the national Academy encourages all members to contact their representatives and senators in Washington, DC.
“Unless Congress acts, family physicians will receive nearly a third less in their Medicare payments,” warned AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., in a letter sent to members. “Help us paint a picture of how these short-term fixes are seriously affecting family medicine – making it increasingly difficult to provide much-needed primary care medical care.”
AAFP has provided an editable model letter that members can send directly to their congressional representatives. The letter supports fundamental reform to block an impending Medicare payment reduction by repealing the SGR. Go to AAFP’s Speak Out to access the letter and determine your representatives.