The U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate Nov. 29 in delaying the 23-percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians, just two days before the reduction was to take effect. The house approved the delay unanimously on a voice vote.
But Congress approved only a one-month delay, giving physicians just 31 days to convince lawmakers to come up with a permanent solution to inadequate Medicare reimbursement. Otherwise, the nation's elderly patients face the possible loss of their physicians.
Spurred by a joint TMA/AARP news conference Nov. 17 in Fort Worth, more than 2,100 Texas physicians, TMA Alliance members, and patients called and e-mailed Congress to demand that it set stable Medicare reimbursement rates for at least a full year.
Keep up the pressure on Washington. Call (202) 224-3121 and urge your Texas senators and representative to take steps to fix Medicare for good. "We need to remind Congress that this ongoing crisis surrounding the Sustainable Growth Rate formula doesn't affect just physicians but also millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and military families," TMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, said.
"Each time Congress plays this game of chicken, the cut to physicians grows deeper, and fear among our patients and physicians increases," Dr. Bailey said, adding that in Texas alone, more than 3 million patients' health care could be put into jeopardy..
As a result of the constant uncertainty and fear of a drastic pay cut, more physicians are not accepting new Medicare and TRICARE patients. Many physicians have had to lay off staff and defer investment in new medical equipment, health information technology, and other innovations that improve patient care.
Get your patients engaged in the Medicare Meltdown Countdown today. Post this poster in your waiting and exam rooms. Or, play TMA's new video explaining the Medicare Meltdown to your patients.
You can find all the resources you need in TMA's Medicare Meltdown Action Center.
Considering your participation options? Register for TMA’s Medicare Options webinar and find out what you can do now.