Baby Boomers Should Protest Reduction In Medicare Physician Reimbursements

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Medicare Physician Reimbursements

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Former American Medical AssociationPresident William Plested on Tuesday said physicians are relying onbaby boomers to protest to lawmakers about proposed Medicare physicianreimbursement cuts, the Seattle Timesreports. A scheduled 10% physician reimbursement rate cut will takeeffect Jan. 1, 2008, and other proposed cuts would reduce physicianpayments by 40% by 2015, Plested said.

According to Plested, aself-selecting survey of doctors found that 60% of physiciansnationwide plan to limit the number of new Medicare beneficiaries theytreat if the cuts take effect. In addition, more than half of thedoctors responding said they would defer buying new medical equipmentand information technology, begin referring complex medical cases, stopmaking nursing home visits and stop outreach efforts to patients inrural areas, according to Plested.

Plested said the problem isthat physicians' "payments aren't keeping pace with the costs ofpracticing medicine." According to Plested, lawmakers will not postponethe cut unless beneficiaries protest. He added, "That's why I'mthrilled about the boomers, because they won't take no for an answer"(Ostrom, Seattle Times, 9/19).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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