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ACP letter in support of the Stabenow amendment

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 10, 2010

Below is a letter sent on June 9 from the American College of Physicians (ACP) to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in support of her forthcoming amendment to the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R. 4213).

June 9, 2010

The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
United States Senate
Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Stabenow:

On behalf of the American College of Physicians (ACP), representing 129,000 internal medicine physician and medical student members, I am writing to convey strong support for the amendment we understand you are preparing to offer to the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R. 4213) to provide stable and positive Medicare payment updates to physicians. This significant amendment would begin moving to a new framework that could serve as the basis for permanently replacing the flawed and unworkable sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

ACP’s understanding is that this provision will replace a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments that went into effect June 1 with a positive update that reflects increases in physician practice costs and provides more stability and predictability in payments through 2013.

The College is particularly pleased that for 2012 and 2013, the update for all physician services will be held to a growth rate that is higher than the current SGR formula, and that there will be an extra allowance for primary and preventive care, with a statutory guarantee that payments could not be reduced in 2012 or 2013. This policy, which is based on legislation (H.R. 3961) passed by the House of Representatives in November, recognizes the importance of ensuring that spending on all physician services be allowed to grow at a higher rate of growth than the unrealistic limits set by the SGR, while creating the opportunity to provide higher updates for under-valued primary care and preventive services.

ACP continues to believe that permanent repeal of the SGR remains essential. In this regard, we strongly supported the Medicare Physician Fairness Act of 2009, S. 1776, which you introduced last fall. Although your amendment falls short of repeal, we are committed to working with you and others in Congress to ensure that a new payment framework, including more appropriate spending targets for all services and increased allowances for primary care and preventive services, is permanently enacted into law before payments revert to the current law formula in 2014.

Sincerely,

J. Fred Ralston, MD, FACP
President

cc:

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Max Baucus
Chairman, Finance Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

***

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact:
David Kinsman, (202) 261-4554
dkinsman@acponline.org

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