FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2010
AARP Media Relations
AARP Applauds Senate Passage of Year-Long Physician Payment Patch
Urges House to act quickly to prevent seniors from losing access to their doctors
WASHINGTON—AARP CEO A. Barry Rand today released a statement applauding the Senate for protecting seniors’ access to doctors in Medicare by passing a year-long patch to the physician payment system. Unless Congress acts before January 1, doctors who treat Medicare patients will receive a 25 percent cut in their reimbursement rates. Rand’s statement follows:
“We applaud the Senate for working together on a bipartisan basis and stopping the devastating cut in physician reimbursement that would have driven more doctors out of the Medicare program. For too long, our members and older Americans have lived under the very real threat of losing access to the doctor they trust.
“The year-long solution will provide physicians with a stable payment plan and seniors with the peace of mind of knowing that their physician will be there for them. It will also give the new Congress time to work on a long-term solution instead of the recent series of short-term patches that have eroded both physicians’ confidence and patients’ trust in Medicare.
“The Senate has taken the first step in protecting seniors’ access to doctors but more work needs to be done. We urge the House to quickly pass this legislation, and ask Congress to make a long-term solution to this problem an urgent priority next year.
“AARP has been fighting hard to fix the unstable payment system—because we know how important it is to our members and all older Americans to ensure that they can keep seeing the doctors they count on. And we will continue to lead the fight. Over the past three weeks, AARP has organized more than a dozen teletown hall meetings, educating more than 130,000 members about the physician pay problem. We’ve been in direct contact with thousands more through emails, direct mail and advertising. Through our efforts, our members, activists and the public contacted Congress more than 100,000 times to tell them to protect access for people in Medicare.
“We thank the Senate for working together to keep doctors in Medicare and we’ll continue to lead the fight to find a solution that will provide stability to patients and their doctors once and for all.”
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