Elderly patients would bear brunt of Medicare cuts, survey shows

June 21, 2007

Physicians are expected to face severe Medicare cuts in 2008 and beyond, which, ultimately, will interfere with patients’ ability to see physicians, a new American Medical Association survey indicates.

Physicians are expected to face severe Medicare cuts in 2008 and beyond, which, ultimately, will interfere with patients’ ability to see physicians, a new American Medical Association survey indicates.

The survey, which was conducted in April and May of this year, represents the views of 8,955 physicians, highlighting how physician practices and patient care would be affected by a 10% payment cut in the coming year.

“The AMA is deeply concerned by the alarming news that 60% of America’s physicians will be forced to limit the number of new Medicare patients they will be able to care for next year when Medicare cuts physician payments,” said Cecil B. Wilson, MD, of the AMA.

Additional cuts spread over a 9-year period would total approximately 40%, during which time the government estimates practice costs will increase by 20%. Within that period, 77% of physicians say they would be forced to reduce the number of new Medicare patients they see, 80% would postpone investments in equipment and information technology, and 77% would reduce staff.

To counter the initiative, MedPAC, Congress’ advisory committee on Medicare, is urging Congress to stop next year’s 10% cut and to update payments by 1.7%, in keeping with practice cost increases. AMA wants Congress to pass legislation to replace the upcoming cuts with Medicare payment updates based on practice costs.

To comment on the proposed cuts, visit www.patientsactionnetwork.org or call 888-434-6200.