Dangerous Medicare reimbursement cuts are looming and will threaten access to quality health care.  These cuts, scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2008, will discourage physician participation in Medicare, leaving our seniors with fewer options for needed care. Prior to the recess, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) and I introduced H.R. 5445, a bill to preserve Medicare reimbursements for 18 months so that Congress can find a long-term solution to this serious problem.

The Sustainable Growth Rate used in the Medicare reimbursement process is fatally flawed. It does not take into account the increased quality of care given to Medicare beneficiaries and rigidly limits payments based on a preset spending target. Physicians are already being reimbursed at a depreciated rate, and these cuts will simply make the situation worse, putting our seniors at greater risk.

Congress must find a sustainable, long-term solution to the Medicare reimbursement problem. The delay Rep. Scott and I propose will provide adequate time for all stakeholders to do this while, at the same time, ensuring the continued availability of quality care to Medicare beneficiaries. We cannot allow our seniors to be put at risk because of unrealistic physician reimbursement levels. Preventing these cuts and finding a viable solution is vitally important to ensuring our nation’s seniors receive the care they need.