For Immediate Release
April 13, 2010
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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What began as a one-state petition drive to capture Congress' attention to fix Medicare has expanded into a nationwide grassroots effort. Physicians and patients from coast to coast have united to gather 1 million signatures or more.
"The outpouring of support clearly demonstrates fixing Medicare is important to patients and their physicians," said Texas Medical Association (TMA) President William H. Fleming III, MD.
TMA launched the petition drive on Monday, April 5, urging Congress to fix the flawed payment formula that threatens care for millions of Medicare patients. Within days of the launch, all 50 state medical societies plus the District of Columbia and more than 15 specialty societies joined the Stop the Medicare Meltdown petition drive.
"It shows how strongly patients and physicians feel about their relationship," said Dr. Fleming. "For a Medicare patient, a doctor can mean everything: independence, hope, and security. And, physicians want to be available to our Medicare patients - we don't want to be forced out of Medicare."
However, unless Congress takes swift action to fix the faulty funding formula, physicians and other providers face steep cuts. Physicians' payments were cut by more than 21 percent on April 1, which could jeopardize care to millions of patients. Even if Congress freezes the cut like it did last month, last year, and for the past decade - it doesn't solve the fundamental problem. In fact, the Band-Aids only serve to erode the foundation of the Medicare program.
"The ongoing uncertainty hurts patients and their doctors. Patients need to know their doctors will be there when they need them," added Dr. Fleming.
"That's why I'm thrilled the petition drive has caught on and is progressing across the nation. We all hope and pray that Congress and President Obama get the message this time - fix Medicare. No more Band-Aids. We need a permanent fix to the faulty funding formula to protect Medicare patients' access to care across America."
A link to an easy-to-complete online petition is at www.MeAndMyDoctor.com .
State medical associations and specialty societies participating in the petition drive include these:
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 45,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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TMA's Medicare Meltdown Action Center