Dear Standard Democrat:
Did you know that an American Medical Association survey determined that the scheduled cuts in MEDICARE (and thereby TRICARE) coming this July 2008 will result in the following -
* 60% of physicians will limit the number of new MEDICARE/TRICARE patients;
* 40% of physicians will limit the number of established MEDICARE/TRICARE patients; and
* 67% of physicians will defer investments in their practices, including the purchase of new equipment and health information technology.
Currently about 25 percent of MEDICARE patients seeking a new primary care physician already have problems finding one, according to the MEDICARE Payment Advisory Commission, the group that advises Congress on MEDICARE.
According to other surveys, physicians in many areas already refuse new TRICARE patients and some have even turned away their established TRICARE patients.
The US Government predicts a shortage of 85,000 doctors by 2020 and with the first wave of baby boomers turning 65 in three short years, the future for MEDICARE/TRICARE patients' access to care is bleak, unless you, my elected official, take steps to turn the tide.
This past December the Congress inexplicably deferred these scheduled cuts by six months rather than continuing the 12 month deferments that it started in 2002. With the cuts now scheduled for 1 July 2008, the Congress has less than 120 days to do something about the scheduled cuts.
Since 2002, the Congress has failed to fix the Sustained Growth Rate formula that mandates these cuts. Rather the Congress has simply applied a band-
aid to the situation. I offer the following permanent solution:
(1) Repeal the Sustained Growth Rate formula (2) tie Physician reimbursements to the same formula used to reimburse hospitals.
Our doctors are always there to take care of us - shouldn't we finally return the favor?
NO MORE BAND-AIDS! FIX THE PROBLEM! STOP PROCRASTINATING!