"A looming 24.4 percent cut, on the heels of a two percent cut in Medicare payments, adds insult to injury for physician practices across this country," said AMA President Jeremy Lazarus, M.D. "Physicians are already facing an enormous gap between what Medicare pays and the actual cost of caring for seniors. A two percent cut from sequestration makes this even worse, and a cut of 24.4 percent is simply unfathomable."
The data show that physicians would be receiving a much needed payment update of nearly 3 percent next year, but the cliff-financing methods used by Congress to delay the SGR cuts in previous years have instead triggered a massive 24.4 percent cut scheduled for January 1. Since 2001, Medicare payments for physician services have only increased by four percent, while the cost of caring for patients has gone up by more than 20 percent.
CMS announced recently that they will deduct two percent from payments to physicians for services they have provided to Medicare patients due to sequestration. A report released jointly by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association found up to 766,000 health care and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of this two percent cut.
"The sequestration and SGR cuts threaten access to care for patients and prevent needed Medicare improvements and innovations," said Dr. Lazarus. "Now is the time to improve Medicare for the thousands of seniors enrolling each day and for future generations."
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