AARP Statement on H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–November 19, 2009.  AARP Senior Vice President David Sloane released the following statement in support of H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009:

“H.R. 3961 will make certain that millions of Americans in Medicare will be able to keep their access to and choice of physicians, and that’s why we support it. We recognize that if the Congress acts, as it has repeatedly in the past, on physician payment reform, then Part B premiums may rise. But it’s important to consider the changes proposed in H.R. 3961 together with proposed changes in H.R. 3962 that would improve efficiency in the Medicare program and reduce beneficiary premiums. According to CBO, on net these premium increases will account for less than 2 percent of Medicare Part B premium collections over the next ten years.

“Absent Congressional action, physicians will face a 21 percent reduction in reimbursement rates next year and may stop taking Medicare patients, undermining the ability of millions of Medicare beneficiaries to get the care that they need and stay healthy.

“At the end of the day, ensuring access to one’s doctor continues to be a high priority for Medicare beneficiaries—and for AARP. We believe that H.R. 3961 meets this goal by permanently fixing the current flawed payment formula and replacing it with a new payment system which protects access to physicians by paying them fairly and better rewarding them for providing primary care and preventive services.”