Medicare :: Medicare premium announcement points to urgent need for Congressional action

Today’s announcement of the planned 2008 increase in Medicare premiums underscores the urgent need for congressional action on Medicare, says the American Medical Association (AMA). In CMS’ analysis of the premium increase, it is clear that growth in Medicare Advantage plans is solely responsible for the increase in the 2008 Medicare Part B premium.

“It is outrageous that all Medicare patients are helping subsidize overpayments to private insurance companies, while only one in five Medicare patients participates in a private Medicare plan,” said Dr. Langston.

“Medicare patients’ premiums are rising, yet the government is cutting payments to the doctors who care for them, which will make it harder for seniors to see the doctor,” said AMA Board Chair Edward Langston, MD. “This is short-sighed government policy, and Congress needs to restore some sense into the system by stopping Medicare physician payment cuts.”

“Over the next two years, the government will slash Medicare physician payments 15 percent, and 60 percent of physicians say they will be forced to limit the number of new Medicare patients they can treat when the first Medicare cut occurs next year,” said Dr. Langston.

Congress must take action to level the playing field between payments to Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare, resulting in important savings that will allow Congress to stop the cuts and preserve Medicare patients’ access to physicians.

“America’s seniors – and the baby boomers soon to reach age 65 – are relying on the Senate to stop Medicare cuts to physicians and ensure seniors have access to a doctor when they need one,” said Dr. Langston.

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