AMA lobbying Congress over Medicare cuts

Marketplace Staff Sep 14, 2006


BRIAN WATT: In Washington, Members of Congress are scrambling to wrap things up so they can go campaign. But this week they’re taking time to see the doctor. An army of doctors has descended on Capitol Hill, lobbying Congress to roll back a five percent cut in their annual Medicare payments. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Congress put a cap on soaring Medicare fees in the mid 1990s. But when the cap kicks in every year, physicians convince Congress to roll it back.

The American Medical Association has released poll results showing 86 percent of seniors are concerned about access to doctors.

AMA board member Dr. Edward Langston says physicians might stop taking Medicare patients if their fees are cut.

DR. EDWARD LANGSTON:“Approximately half, 45% said, if these cuts go through, I can’t take more Medicare patients.”

But AARP lobbyist Kirsten Sloan says it’s seniors, not doctors, who need a break.

KIRSTEN SLOAN: “Every time that Congress comes back and increases the amount of money it pays doctors, Medicare beneficiaries shoulder 25 percent of those costs.”

There’s one thing doctors and patients agree on: Congress needs to come up with a permanent solution.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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