Seniors Face Medicare Meltdown, Again

For Immediate Release 
Feb. 13, 2011  

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

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

The health of more than 3 million Texas seniors is in jeopardy, again. If Congress doesn’t take action, Medicare patients could lose access to the doctors they know and trust.  

On March 1, doctors face an unprecedented cut to their Medicare payments. The 27-percent cut could force even more physicians out of the program. This is not the first time doctors and Medicare patients have faced this crisis. It’s a 10-year-old issue. The formula Medicare uses to pay doctors is broken. It calculates a pay cut almost every year for doctors – jeopardizing health care for millions of seniors. 

Every time Congress delays fixing the broken formula, the cost to taxpayers grows. In 2005, it would have cost $48 billion to throw out the formula. Today, it is nearly $300 billion. If Congress continues to use the same temporary patches it has in the past, the cost will double again in only five years.  

Texas physicians and Texas AARP are urging Congress to stop the irresponsible cycle of scheduled cuts and short-term patches to the Medicare payment system for doctors. It’s unacceptable that seniors could lose the doctors who have taken care of them for years just because Congress can’t find a solution.  

Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to work together to pass a long-term solution to this crisis so doctors can continue to provide Medicare patients with the health care they have earned and deserve.  

C. Bruce Malone, MD
President, Texas Medical Association 

Ollie Besteiro
President, Texas AARP 

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