December 1, 2011

Looming Doctor Pay Cuts

Written by Embra King

On January first of next year the Medicare physician pay reduction plan is set to be implemented, unless of Congress steps in and provides relief from these pay cuts as they have been doing since 2003. The projected percentage of doctor pay cuts has fallen since earlier this year, however doctor organizations say the now estimated 27.4 percent cut will still be devastating to physicians and patients alike. These pay reductions would add to a system that is already under funded.

“Many physicians are already struggling with inadequate Medicare payment rates and the ongoing threat of future cuts from this broken physician payment formula,” Dr. Carmel the president of American Medical Association said. “Payments for Medicare physician services have fallen so far below increases in medical practice costs that there is a 20% gap between Medicare payment updates and the cost of caring for seniors.”

With these looming pay cuts, beneficiaries would suffer because they would not be able to see their doctor of choice, while physicians may consider leaving the insurance program or closing their doors altogether.

Since 2003, Congress has been providing temporary support against the budget cuts. We are in need of a long-term solution; our systemcan’t rely on temporary relief each year. President Obama has pledged that his current budget proposal will include funding for a fix to the SGR problem, protection for Medicare beneficiaries’ access to doctors, and a call for Congress to stop cuts to doctor’s pay.

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