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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

SENATE CAN'T STOP CUTS AS MEDICARE MELTDOWN BEGINS

Medicare payments to physicians drop by a whopping 21.2 percent starting today. A lone U.S. senator blocked a last-minute congressional attempt to delay the cuts one more time. It’s what we call the Medicare Meltdown. “Both Congress and the president talk about the importance of physicians being able to care for their patients; yet actions speak louder than words,” said TMA President Bill Fleming, MD, in a special message to TMA members. “Every Texan should be angry and disgusted with Congress for toying with patients. This is truly a sad day for Texas patients and physicians, and for patients across America.” Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are confident they can put yet another Band-Aid on Medicare’s flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula before the new, smaller checks start flowing in 10 days. That is absolutely necessary, but it is far from sufficient. Another patch won’t do. We need a permanent, rational Medicare physician payment system that automatically keeps up with the cost of running a practice and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula.

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