Congress Heads Home With a Lump of Coal for Medicare Patients

For Immediate Release
Dec. 21, 2011   

Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807  

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320

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The following can be attributed to C. Bruce Malone, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). Dr. Malone’s statement is regarding Congress’ failure to pass legislation stopping a 27.4-percent cut to physician’s Medicare payments. Physicians now face a huge cut on Jan. 1, 2012, that threatens access to care for millions of Medicare patients and military families on TRICARE.  


“It’s appalling that Congress left town, leaving grandma and millions of other Medicare patients and military families to worry about their health care. Congress has had all year to fix the broken formula used to pay physicians for the care they provide to Medicare patients. In fact, it has had more than a decade to fix the issue. It’s unbelievable Congress would put physicians and our Medicare patients in this uncertain and vulnerable situation. Again.

“Congress has failed its duty to the Medicare patients of this country. It’s obvious members of Congress are not taking seriously the plight of Medicare patients or the difficulty practicing doctors face due to this crisis — especially when they so casually left town without solving the problem.

“TMA leaders have urged Congress to replace the broken payment formula before pouring new money into other Medicare providers’ payments. Over the last decade, Medicare has recognized the value that hospitals, nursing homes, home health services, durable medical equipment, and other health care professionals provide Medicare patients. They all received annual payment updates. Physicians should, too. Before any future updates are given, Washington needs to fix the broken physician payment system.”  

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To illustrate the problem in terms even a child can understand, TMA has produced the Grandma & the Big, Bad SGR video. 
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.