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Physicians, Patients Launch Medicare Petition Drive to Congress

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 General News J E 4
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EAST LANSING, Mich., April 20 Medicare, the foundation of America's health system, is crumbling and needs permanent repair. Yet Congress just passed major health system reform legislation without solving the Medicare problem.

The 15,000 physician and medical student members of the Michigan State Medical Society have joined a grassroots coalition with the other 49 other state medical societies to gather one million signatures to send to Congress and the president. The goal is to compel Congress to fix the flawed payment formula that threatens care for Michigan's 1.4 million Medicare recipients, including senior citizens and people with disabilities, and more than 96,000 military family members covered by TriCare.

"The Medicare payment formula is a problem because declining reimbursements are forcing more and more physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients they can accept and still keep their doors open," said MSMS President Richard E. Smith, MD, a Wayne County obstetrician/gynecologist. "This means reduced access to health care for our patients who often need it most."

Doctors say their Medicare patients routinely ask them if they know of other physicians - both specialists and primary care - who will see and care for them. Finding doctors to care for new Medicare patients is a constant struggle, they say.

MSMS believes the only acceptable solution is for Congress to repeal the flawed Medicare formula and replace it with a stable, fair funding mechanism that reflects the true cost of providing care.

"We urge our colleagues and patients to sign this petition now to send a message to Congress that they must stop the pending Medicare cut and permanently fix the flawed formula," Doctor Smith said. "Otherwise, we all know someone - parents, grandparents, family or friends - who may have difficulty getting the health care they need."

MSMS doctors invite everyone to sign the online petition at www.MeAndMyDoctor.com and stop the Medicare Meltdown, so patients can choose their doctors and their doctors can stay in the program.

SOURCE Michigan State Medical Society
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