As always, I welcome your constructive comments and suggestions about the material on this website and how we can all be most effective in co-creating the kind of healthcare system we all want.
You Can Make a Difference!
Write and call NOW urging your senators and representatives to prevent proposed cuts in Medicare reimbursement for 2008 and subsequent years.
Points you may want to include in letters or calls:
* The effect of the cuts includes nearly all physicians and patients regardless of age because most private insurance companies, HMO's and network management companies base their reimbursement rates on Medicare, regardless of the age or insurance of the patient. As a result physician fees will be reduced even beyond the projected estimates of 40% reduction by 2015 (Medicare Trustees Report).
* Congressional leaders in both parties know that the formula (SGR) used to pay physicians needs to be replaced. It is time to fix the problem, rather than patch it. Other Medicare providers, like hospitals, are not tied to the law of Sustainable Growth Rate used for physicians. Under this formula, while Medicare plans to cut physician payment, hospital reimbursement is expected to increase 32% in the same period.
* Managing costs should be focused on high cost areas like preventing and managing chronic illnesses, drug prices, defensive medicine, and other drivers of increasing health costs. Increasing patient premiums and reducing payment to physicians is easiest to control, but has negative impact and does not fix the problem.
* The proposed cuts significantly affect physician wellbeing and ultimately can impact quality of care. Studies have shown that physician dissatisfaction and stress can contribute to lower quality of care. Neither physicians nor patients want that. Physicians have to increase volume of patients to try to make up for cuts.
* You want quality healthcare to remain available to you and other patients. This is not about party politics. You expect Congress to commit to co-creating ethical health partnerships with your physician and with you and your family.
For further reading about this issue:
Downloadable Reports and charts listed on the AMA site:
© Dawn Lipthrott, Ethical Health Partnerships, 2004, revised 2007 www.ethicalhealthpartnerships.org
(May be copied and distributed as long as this identifying information is retained on copies.)