Q: How much will Medicare physician payments be cut?
A: Physicians are slated to receive several years of consecutive Medicare payment cuts, totaling 29.5 percent! These payment cuts will be made worse by a 38 percent projected increase in medical practice costs from 2001-2019.
Q: When will the cuts hit?
A: Physicians' payments are scheduled to be cut by 29.5 percent on January 1, 2012 according to the latest estimates. Smaller payment cuts are projected for several years thereafter.
Q: Who will be hurt by these cuts?
A: Patient access to their doctors will be in jeopardy. Physicians cannot absorb additional cuts in Medicare payments. Continued cuts to payments may force physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients they serve or stop accepting new Medicare patients entirely.
Q: Will non-Medicare patients be affected by the cuts?
A: Since many private insurers link their rates to Medicare’s payment rates, these cuts have the potential to affect more than just Medicare beneficiaries.
Q: What’s the solution?
A: Physicians must receive Medicare payments that keep up with the cost of treating seniors and disabled beneficiaries. Congress must eliminate the current formula of tying physician payment rates to the annual growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product (which is prone to wide fluctuations on a yearly basis) and replace it with a payment system that reflects annual increases in physicians’ medical practice costs.
Q: What can you do to stop the cuts?
A: Write to your members of Congress and ask them to stop the physician payment cuts. IDSA’s Advocacy Center is open to the public so encourage your patients and your peers to write to Congress as well.
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