The U.S. Senate’s action last night to stop the Medicare cut for one month will help avert a health care access crisis for seniors that would have begun in just two weeks. This is a short-term reprieve, and the AMA is urging Congress to pass a one-year fix as soon as they return from the Thanksgiving holiday. Delaying the 25 percent cut to the end of 2011 will inject some stability into the Medicare program for patients and physicians and provide lawmakers with time to develop a long-term solution to the broken physician payment system.
Now the U.S. House must act on the legislation passed by the Senate before the December 1 deadline to preserve health care for America’s seniors. The AMA thanks Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, Senator Baucus, Senator Grassley and President Obama for their efforts to stave off the Medicare cut and preserve access to physician care for seniors and military families.
This week, patients and physicians flooded congressional phone lines urging action to stop the cut with more than 10,000 calls made during the AMA’s “White Coat Wednesday.” The Senate listened to the voice of the American people and took quick action, but there is more work to do to prevent a Medicare meltdown. Our new poll found that four out of five people want Congress to act immediately to stop the Medicare physician payment cut. The AMA will stay closely engaged to ensure that Congress takes quick action to stop the cut for 12 months before the latest deadline expires on January 1 and the 25 percent cut begins.
Our work continues as Congress comes back to work after the Holiday. This reprieve only carries us through to December 31st. We will still need your help to push for a long term solution before the New Year. Watch your email and the Bulletin for an Action Alert right after Thanksgiving to provide you with talking points and easy access to your delegates. Thank you for contributing your voice to this effort.