Washington, DC— Senator Debbie Stabenow held a press conference this morning with representatives from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) to discuss the need to fix payments for doctors who treat seniors and military families.
Medicare and TRICARE doctors play a critical role in our health care system. Unfortunately, Medicare and TRICARE physicians are scheduled to receive a pay cut of over 20 percent next year. Slashing their payments will only lead to fewer doctors accepting Medicare or TRCIARE patients or dropping their current patients. We cannot let Americans lose their doctors because of a flawed payment system. It’s not fair to our seniors and military families and it’s not fair to their doctors. The Medicare Physician Fairness Act will compensate Medicare and TRICARE doctors in an honest way.
“Americans cannot receive the quality care they deserve unless they have access to their doctor. That’s why I am proud to sponsor this bill to make sure seniors, persons with disabilities, and military families can continue seeing theirs,” said Senator Stabenow. “Without eliminating this flawed payment system, doctors could be forced to close their doors to patients who trust and need them. This legislation will also help pave the way to change how we pay doctors, shifting the focus to pay for quality of care rather than quantity of treatments.”
“There is widespread agreement that Medicare physician payment cuts will harm access to care and choice of physician for patients who rely on Medicare,” said J. James Rohack, M.D., President of the AMA. “Senator Stabenow is a champion for patients and physicians, and the AMA enthusiastically supports her bill that lays the foundation to permanently fix the Medicare payment formula and keeps the program strong as millions of baby boomers enter Medicare in two years. As we work to improve the health system, permanent repeal of the payment formula is essential to ensuring the security and stability of Medicare.”
“Access to health care already is the single biggest problem for military beneficiaries of all ages,” said Navy Vice Admiral Norb Ryan, President of the MOAA. “The 21% cut to Medicare and TRICARE payments called for under current law would make that problem exponentially worse. The last thing troops in combat should have to worry about is whether their sick spouse or child can find a doctor to treat them.”
“Health reform should protect access to and choice of physicians for the tens of millions of Americans who depend on Medicare,” said David Sloane, Senior Vice President at AARP. “This legislation permanently fixes the current flawed payment formula, ensuring that doctors are paid fairly so they’ll continue treating existing Medicare patients and accepting new patients.”