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Inconceivably, physicians are once again watching Congress closely and hoping their legislators will not shirk their responsibility to prevent steep Medicare physician payment cuts.

This time, a 26.5% Medicare cut is scheduled for Jan. 1, and the threat is growing each day that Congress may fail to act in time, deferring action until next year after cuts have already been enacted.

This is unconscionable.

Demand that Congress act before Jan. 1. Contact your Representative and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, calling their offices using the AMA grassroots hotline at 1-800-833-6354, and sending them an email from the MSSNY Grassroots Action Center at http://capwiz.com/mssny/issues/alert/?alertid=62146506&type=CO&show_alert=1.

Remind them that failure to permanently address this annual problem perpetuates the threat of cuts, creating instability for physicians' practices, eroding their confidence in the Medicare system, and limiting access to care for patients. Remind them also that these cuts threaten employment for many who work in physician offices.

As recently as 2010, Congress allowed cuts to occur and then fixed the interruption in Medicare physician payments at a later date. Our federal representatives must be reminded that this action caused a disruptive hold on claims for Medicare physician services, creating significant strain for physician practices and interrupting access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.

If Congress once again defers action on the scheduled Medicare SGR cuts until after Jan. 1, it will be at a great cost to physicians and their patients.

It's time the delays, short-term patches, and partisan games come to an end.

Posted 12-20-2012 at 12:34PM

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