AMA: Sequestration Cuts Cause Real Pain for Medicare Patients, Physicians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                March 1, 2013

Statement attributable to:    
Jeremy Lazarus, M.D.   
President, American Medical Association

“Our lawmakers have failed to act, and Medicare patients and physicians will now feel real pain in the form of new cuts that come at an already difficult time for the nation's economy. A report released jointly by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association found up to 766,000 health care and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of the two percent cut in Medicare resulting from sequestration.

“The across-the-board cut will hit physicians particularly hard because of the fundamentally flawed Medicare physician payment system. Since 2001 Medicare payments for physician services have only increased by four percent, while the cost of caring for patients has gone up by more than 20 percent. A two percent cut widens the already enormous gap between what Medicare pays and the actual cost of caring for seniors

“Physicians continue to face drastic cuts from the SGR, and an additional two percent cut coming from sequestration further threatens access to care for patients and prevents needed improvements in Medicare. Creating a larger gap between Medicare payment rates and the cost of delivering care will stifle innovation, reduce access to care and increase dysfunction within the Medicare program. At the same time that Medicare physician payment rates have been frozen, physicians need to make investments in their practices to help design, lead and adopt new models of care delivery that can increase quality and reduce costs now and in the future. Further cuts are counterproductive and stifle important progress while placing an unsustainable burden on physician practices.”

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Media Contact:

Heather Lasher Todd
AMA Media Relations
202-789-7421
Heather.Lasher.Todd@ama-assn.org 

About the American Medical Association (AMA)
The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional, public health and health policy issues. The nation’s largest physician organization plays a leading role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit www.ama-assn.org.

About Us

About the American Medical Association (AMA) Since 1847 the American Medical Association has had one mission: to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Today, the core strategy used to carry out this mission is our concerted effort to help doctors help patients. We do this by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. In 2011 our strategic plan focuses on five areas that encompass the central elements in health system reform: Access to care Quality of care Cost of health care Prevention and wellness Payment models Vist the AMA's 2011 strategic plan at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/strategic-issues.page These topics represent the major areas of emphasis in which the AMA carries out its mission in the current environment. Our proposed actions are not only directed at solving reform issues at the policy level, but also at helping physicians adapt to—and adopt—changes in a productive way. To learn more about how the AMA is moving medicine forward, read our flyer at: http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/about-ama/moving-medicine-forward.pdf.

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