Nationwide on March first, physicians taking Medicare patients will see a 21 percent reduction in payments. Dr. James Rohack, President of the American Medical Association. says the cuts will create an incentive for doctors to not see Medicare patients which the AMA says may affect 850-thousand seniors, disabled and military families in Wisconsin. This comes in a time when already about one-in-four Wisconsinites on Medicare have problems finding a doctor, according to Rohack.
Supporters of the pay reduction say it rewards efficiency on behalf of the physician and curbs the potential of overcharging for services. But the AMA president says it will make providers choose to do less preventative care.
The AMA is lobbying for Senators to revise the Medicare physician reimbursement plan after the House passed a similar bill in November. The legislation is separate from the health care reform bill currently in Congress.
Rohack says Congress has only fixed the problem with “temporary patches” causing a snowballing effect, “They could’ve fixed this a couple of years ago for less than $50 billion, now it’s at 210 billion and if they do another patch it will probably be 300 billion.”
Compared with the rest of the country, Wisconsin has an above average percentage of Medicare patients at 14 percent.