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Associations Urge House to Protect Access to Physicians for Older Americans and Military Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 25, 2010

Contact: AARP Media Relations, media@aarp.org, 202-434-2560

 

Associations Urge House to Protect Access to Physicians for Older Americans and Military Families

Groups tell House to stop drastic pay cut to physicians in Medicare

 

WASHINGTON—Today, AARP along with the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association and Military Officers Association of America, call on the U.S. House of Representatives to support the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R. 4213).  This legislation will help preserve access to physicians for millions of Americans in Medicare until 2014, giving seniors the peace of mind of knowing they can find a doctor when they need one.

“After their grandchildren, the second most important person in the lives of older Americans is their physician,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.  “We urge the House to protect patients’ ability to have access to their doctor and pass this legislation.”

“For many patients, passage of this bill will help forestall the possibility that, on June 1, they may lose their physician because of the drastic 20-plus percent reduction in physicians’ Medicare payments,” said AAFP President Lori Heim, M.D. “Primary care physicians will increasingly be called on to care for Americans with improved access to health insurance. This bill helps restore the trust needed to build a health care system based on primary care.”

"If being a doctor is difficult, being a doctor while trying to keep a small business from running in the red is even more difficult. That is what those of us in private practice face every day," said Yul D. Ejnes, M.D., FACP, chair-elect of the Board of Regents of ACP and a practicing general internist in Cranston, R.I. "It is hard to think about hiring staff to help me do a better job of providing patient-centered care, upgrading my electronic health records to improve the quality of the care I provide, or recruiting new doctors to meet the medical needs of my community when the threat of a 21 percent cut in Medicare and TRICARE payments looms. "

“We are confident that policies, such as those contained in H.R. 4213, will result in physicians continuing their participation in the Medicare program preserving access to care for our nation’s seniors and military families,” said Larry A. Wickless, D.O., President of AOA.  “We urge both the House and Senate to approve this important legislation.”

“The Military Officers of America strongly supports this initiative to address the #1 health care concern among military beneficiaries—ensuring access to quality health care,” said MOAA President VADM Norb Ryan, Jr. (USN-Ret).  “H.R. 4213 would take a great step in the right direction by eliminating the immediate threat of large payment cuts that would cause many doctors to stop seeing military TRICARE patients.  The last thing troops in a combat zone should have to worry about is whether their sick spouse or child will be able to find a doctor.”

These organizations will also hold a media event at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26 in the U.S. Capitol, Room SC-6.  The event will feature physicians talking about how cuts to Medicare payments affect them, their patients and their practices; older consumers talking about how these cuts affect their access to quality health care; and representatives of military families talking about how cuts to doctors in Medicare affect them.  For more information on the Wednesday, May 26 media event, please contact AARP media relations at (202) 434-2560 or media@aarp.org.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 94,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. To learn more about the AAFP and about the specialty of family medicine, please visit aafp.org. For more information about the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care and downloadable multi-media on family medicine and health care, visit the AAFP Media Center. For more information about health care, health conditions, and wellness, please visit familydoctor.org.

The American Osteopathic Association proudly represents more than 67,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) practicing in 31 specialties and subspecialties, promotes public health, encourages scientific research, serves as the primary certifying body for DOs and is the accrediting agency for all osteopathic medical schools and health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former military officers and their families and survivors. It is an independent, nonprofit, and politically nonpartisan organization with more than 370,000 members from every branch of service. MOAA promotes a strong national defense by advocating equitable treatment of those who serve and have served their country in uniform. For more information, visit www.moaa.org.

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