WASHINGTON, July 9 The following is a statement by J. James Rohack, M.D., President-elect, American Medical Association:
"Today the American Medical Association celebrates that the Senate heard the voices of patients and physicians and voted to stop Medicare physician payment cuts that would have hurt seniors' access to care by a bipartisan, veto-proof majority of 69 to 30. We especially appreciate the heroic efforts of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who made this critical vote his first after his surgery. We also applaud those senators who put patients first and voted yes even though they had concerns about the process or some of the bill's provisions.
"Now we - along with seniors, the disabled, and military families - call on President Bush to sign this bill into law to protect access to health care for so many deserving Americans.
"On July 1, a Medicare physician payment cut of 10.6 percent went into effect, putting access to health care for seniors, the disabled and military families at risk. In the first week of July, tens of thousands of patients and physicians contacted their senators and urged them to vote for HR 6331. Those voices were heard and heeded.
"Just two weeks ago, the same bill - HR 6331 - passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming, bipartisan, veto-proof majority of 355 to 59.
"Now we urge President Bush to hear and heed the voices of seniors, the disabled and military families - and sign the bill into law for the health of America."
SOURCE American Medical Association