NMA Issues Medicare Letter To Congressional Super Committee

    (BlackDoctor.org) — As physicians, our goal is to advocate for policies that improve, not impede, access to lifesaving therapies, and to do all we can to help patients understand that not taking their medicines as directed is a ‘lose-lose’ proposition for all of us, since decreased medication adherence is likely to lead to increased morbidity and disability, and increased costs down the road for payers and patients alike.

    Dear Congressman Jeb Hensarling and Senator Patty Murray:

    Medicare Part D is working well for limited income seniors and low-income beneficiaries. While Medicare costs have been soaring, Part D premiums have held steady annually. Far from being a source of inefficiency and waste, Part D sets the standard for delivering better value at lower cost. We would urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reject, outright, any deficit reduction proposal that would make Part D drugs less affordable for beneficiaries.

    As physicians, our goal is to advocate for policies that improve, not impede, access to lifesaving therapies, and to do all we can to help patients understand that not taking their medicines as directed is a ‘lose-lose’ proposition for all of us, since decreased medication adherence is likely to lead to increased morbidity and disability, and increased costs down the road for payers and patients alike.

    Unfortunately, patients’ access to lifesaving therapies is also in jeopardy if there are not enough physicians to prescribe these medicines. The ongoing physician payment crisis under Medicare as a result of Congress’ failure to fix the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) framework will lead to some unfortunate
    decisions among the nation’s doctors in the coming weeks, such as refusing to see new Medicare patients.

    We know you have both heard the arguments for why we must fix the SGR. While the cost of fixing the problem now runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars, we fear the problem will get much worse if your committee refuses to take decisive action now. Our fear is not unfounded. As you know, fixing the problem would have cost orders of magnitude less than it does today if Congress had taken decisive action in 2002, as opposed to waiting till the eve of 2012.

    As the nation’s premier membership organization of African American physicians, we are more likely than most to see the most vulnerable of the nation’s seniors. Putting them first means improving their access to physicians and life-saving therapies, consequently improving health outcomes for this growing segment of our population. Paying down the nation’s debt and reducing budget deficits are noble long term goals, but we cannot build a strong nation on the backs of sick people.

    Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with the Committee to help strengthen Medicare and to ensure that the program is stable.

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 952 other followers