MMS Letter to Congressional Delegation On Impending Medicare Cuts

The Honorable Senator John Kerry
SR-218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510-2102

Dear Senator Kerry,

I am writing on behalf of the 24,000 physician members of the Massachusetts Medical Society to thank you for your continuing leadership and support for eliminating the SGR and for preventing devastating and unjustified Medicare physician payment cuts from being enacted.  Massachusetts patients and physicians are privileged to be represented by members of Congress who are both knowledgeable and dedicated to quality health care.

With the year's end in sight, and the potential start of the so-called fiscal cliff, I would like to once again reiterate how devastating the pending 27% Medicare physician payment cut would be to Medicare and Tricare patients as well as physicians in your District. The combined impact of this cut and the pending 2% sequestration cut to all Medicare providers would clearly obliterate a number of physician's practices in our state with an equally harmful impact on the employees and other businesses who rely on them.  Of equal if not greater concern would be the impact on our senior patients and our military family's access to health care.

According to the AMA, the 27% Medicare cut alone would result in an annual loss of $560 million to Massachusetts, impact 70,711 jobs for those employed by physicians' offices and most importantly impact over 1 million Medicare patients and nearly 72,597 Tricare military members and families' access to health care. These numbers do not include hospitals, medical device companies and other employees who are also affected by these Medicare funds. The impact of these cuts on access to health care is exacerbated by the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries living in MA who are significantly below the federal poverty level.  In the Commonwealth there are on average nearly 16% more Medicare beneficiaries than the national average with about 34% of those beneficiaries living 150% below the federal poverty level. There is no question that cuts of this magnitude would erode access to health care as well as the medical and health care community in this region.

I also want to encourage your continued support for Graduate Medical Education funding and increased Medicaid reimbursement for primary care physicians as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Our members applaud your efforts to protect these vital programs and urge you to continue to oppose efforts to weaken either of these initiatives which are critical to sustain a viable physician workforce and to enable access to care for our patients. 

The physicians of Massachusetts appreciate your commitment and your ongoing advocacy to protect and to promote quality health care in our state.  As always we look forward to working with you on this shared goal.

Sincerely,
               
Richard V. Aghababian, MD, FACEP
President, Massachusetts Medical Society

Note: This letter was also sent to all members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

 

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