September 28, 2011
Dear NMACP Members,
Our nation's finances are at a critical juncture. With health care spending growing at an alarming rate, its costs and our nation's health care and that of our patients, our future patients and our profession are at the forefront of the debate. The College needs your help to ensure that internists and their patients are not subject to cuts that will reduce access to care, to ensure sufficient funding for graduate medical education funding, and to recommend socially and fiscally responsible ways for Congress to reduce health spending and the deficit.
On August 2, the President signed the Budget Control Act, which among other things, created the 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee) to develop legislation to achieve up to $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.
By November 23, a majority of the Joint Select Committee is required to approve its recommendations. If a majority approves, they will be sent to the Congress, which is required to vote, without amendment, by December 23. If a majority does not agree, an automatic across-the-board cut (called sequestration) would be imposed on all federal agencies and programs. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries would be protected. Medicare payments to physicians, however, and other practitioners as well as hospitals and other providers, would be subject to a reduction of up to 2 percent. And unless Congress repeals the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula as part of a deficit reduction agreement, physicians likely will receive a scheduled 29.5 percent cut on January 1, 2012 and another double-digit cut in 2013. The 2 percent pay cut that would be triggered if sequestration occurs would be in addition to these SGR cuts.
Please Add your Voice Now
Now is the only opportunity rank and file Members of Congress have to influence the Joint Select Committee by conveying the College's priorities to their Chamber's leadership, the House and Senate committees that have jurisdiction over health care programs of interest to internists and their patients, and to the Super Committee itself.
Please e-mail your legislators today by going to the Web site and stress how important it is that the Joint Select Committee recommends the repeal of the SGR. Repeal of the SGR is fiscally responsible. Unless the SGR is repealed now, the cost to taxpayers of stopping scheduled physician payment cuts will double in four years, to more than half a trillion dollars! Please also stress the importance of continued funding of Graduate Medical Education (GME) and other programs that ensure a sufficient supply of internal medicine specialists in primary and comprehensive care. In the template e-mail provided, there also a link to the College's options for reducing health care spending and the deficit in a responsible way, while allowing for SGR repeal and continued funding for GME and other essential programs to ensure access.
Please personalize the letter to your situation and your community. The more personalized information you include the more influential your letter can be. Our members of Congress want to know how we as their constituents are affected. Thank you for strengthening the voice of internal medicine at this critical time.
Ellen Cosgrove, MD, FACP
Governor, New Mexico Chapter
Page updated: 10/25/11