Letters: Time to fix Medicare
Vail CO, Colorado
Time to fix Medicare
In 2008, millions of America’s seniors may find themselves without a physician. The Medicare program, once the gold standard of quality, efficient health care for our nation’s elderly and disabled, has been crippled by Congressional negligence.
Inaction by Congress over the past 350 days to avert a scheduled 10.1 percent payment decrease to physicians caring for Medicare beneficiaries reflects a lack of commitment to these seniors.
If these cuts are allowed to take effect, most physicians say they will be forced to limit the number of new Medicare patients they see. This will only exacerbate current access problems. The lack of Congressional action, to date, is irresponsible and unacceptable.
With just days left before the largest payment reduction in Medicare history, Congress has yet to enact any measure to address the most prominent need of beneficiaries, their peace of mind when they have an ongoing relationship with a physician.
For the past six years, Congress has failed to enact meaningful legislation that would reform the Medicare physician payment formula. It appears motivation is lacking again this year as Congress plans to adjourn without addressing this issue.
In the past 50 weeks, Congress has enacted laws renaming 48 post offices; yet they have failed to find a solution that would protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to physician services.
Congress must make the difficult choices, ensuring that the Medicare physician payment formula is fair, equitable, and encourages the ongoing participation of physicians in the program.
They also must make these choices before they adjourn. Members of Congress should not return to their home states until they have resolved this critical issue.
President, American Osteopathic Association