AUA among 65 groups urging Congress to stop Medicare pay cuts

October 28, 2010

The AUA and the American Association of Clinical Urologists were among 65 physician groups that recently united to warn Congress that immediate action is needed to stop the 30% Medicare payment cuts looming at the end of this year to protect seniors' access to health care.

The AUA and the American Association of Clinical Urologists were among 65 physician groups that recently united to warn Congress that immediate action is needed to stop the 30% Medicare payment cuts looming at the end of this year to protect seniors’ access to health care.

The effort also included the American Medical Association and medical societies representing 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), the organizations call on Congress to permanently replace the sustainable growth rate formula. Temporary delays stabilized Medicare physician payments through the end of November. The AMA said in a statement that if action is not taken quickly by Congress, on Dec. 1, Medicare payments for physician services will be cut by more than 23%, with an additional cut of 6.5% to follow on Jan. 1, 2011.

"The AMA is calling on Congress to immediately address this impending crisis when they return to Washington after the November elections," said AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD. "Without action to stop the cuts, Congress will create a Medicare meltdown with access to care threatened for seniors and the baby boomers who will begin entering Medicare in January.

"Ultimately, a permanent solution must be passed to fix this broken system, but Congress must first stop the 30% payment cuts threatening seniors’ access to care now."

Severe instability in the Medicare system is already compromising access to health care for America’s seniors, the AMA said. According to a 2010 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission survey, about one in four seniors looking for a new primary care physician had trouble finding one.

Among the other organizations to sign the letter were the American Urogynecological Society, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.