Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Endorses National Petition to Fix Medicare Payment

MMS Endorses National Petition to Fix Medicare Payment

Contact: Richard Gulla
(781) 434-7101

Waltham, Mass. - April 7 - The Massachusetts Medical Society said today that it has joined other medical societies and associations from across the country in signing on to a national petition to fix the formula Medicare uses to pay physicians and preserve access to care for seniors.

"Stop the Medicare Meltdown," originally sponsored by the Texas Medical Association, has been endorsed by 48 state and specialty medical groups across the U.S.  It urges citizens to let Congress know that "physicians have faced steep payment cuts that make it harder and harder for them to care for their Medicare patients."

At issue is the way Medicare pays physicians, and the petition is a call for Congress to fix or replace the payment formula used to reimburse physicians for caring for Medicare patients.

Mario Motta, M.D., President of the 22,000 member Massachusetts Medical Society, said "It is unconscionable that Congress has again failed to act on behalf of the nation's seniors and the physicians who provide their health care. The repeated failure of Congress to act on this matter illustrates why the Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Medical Association continue to insist on a permanent repeal Medicare physician payment formula."

The basis for such reimbursement has been the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, created by Congress in 1997. Federal lawmakers have struggled for years to correct it, but year after year have failed to do so. For eight years, the SGR has called for cuts in physician reimbursements, only to be reversed by last minute fixes. It's happening again this year. A 21 percent pay for physicians went into effect April 1, and Congress has yet to act. 

Under the current SGR formula, Medicare payments have been a losing proposition for physicians. Over those last eight years, reimbursement rates have been flat, but the cost of running a medical practice is up over 20 percent. Medicare typically pays lower than private insurers, and that's causing more physicians to give up their practices. This is particularly true in rural areas.

"Doctors want to take care of Medicare patients," the petition begins, but "Congress is forcing doctors to limit the number of Medicare patients we see or to quit taking Medicare patients altogether."

Citizens who wish to sign the petition may do so by visiting or Stop the Medicare Meltdown at

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with some 22,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country.


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