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Letters, op ed urge permanent Medicare fix
e-Reports, February 22, 2010
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The ISMA continues to advocate for Medicare payment reform even though we’re down to the wire. In an op ed article and letters to Sens. Lugar and Bayh, the ISMA has called for repeal of the 21.2 percent Medicare payment cut set for March 1.

The op ed by ISMA President Fred Ridge, M.D., and AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D., ran in the Feb. 8 Indianapolis Star. It called for a permanent fix to the broken Medicare physician payment formula causing the pending cut, which will put patient access and choice at risk.

At 14 percent, Indiana’s Medicare population is above the national average, the article noted. Add that to our aging physician population and the looming cut’s impact becomes even more serious.

In communications with the offices of Sens. Lugar and Bayh, the ISMA learned both support some type of fiscally responsible fix to the physician reimbursement formula. However, the $210 billion cost of permanent repeal makes a fix unlikely.

The AMA reported that a draft bill before the Senate Finance Committee calls for extending current Medicare physician pay rates for seven months, through Sept. 30. 

The ISMA and AMA will continue urging Congress to find a permanent solution.

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