Dr. Rahn Kennedy Bailey, NMA President
Jan. 4, 2013
-- Silver Spring, MD-The National Medical Association (NMA), the nation's oldest and largest organization representing the African-American physician and the patients they serve, are not optimistic, despite the fact that a nearly 29% pay cut was avoided from affecting physicians who accept Medicare patients, on January 1, 2013 with Congress approving a fiscal cliff compromise bill. “This temporary solution solves the problem for now, but the new 113th Congress’ work has just begun. We’ve just put a band-aid on a deep penetrating wound and eventually it’s going to burst and our nation’s most vulnerable, the elderly and the poor will be hurt the most,” said Rahn Kennedy Bailey, M.D. FAPA, NMA President. “Although, we are grateful for this last minute action, the truth of the matter is, this hasn’t solved anything. The compromise has only delayed the inevitable. If the new 113th Congress doesn’t do something immediately, the problem is only going to get worst for Medicare patients. Congress must work with the nation’s physicians to find a viable solution to our Medicare crisis,” continued Bailey.
Most physicians who treat Medicare patients do so knowing that our nation’s Medicare system is broken and not reliable. However, in most instances, our NMA membership has provided care to these patients not because it was profitable, but because it was right. We as a nation need to move toward overhauling the Medicare system and resolving this issue so that we can continue to provide quality services to our nation’s most vulnerable group of patients. “Most of our NMA members are wiling to accept a two to three percent cut in payments, but a nearly 30% pay cut, is just not feasible. More importantly, our physicians want to work with the Administration to address the Medicare crisis to prevent this from happening in the future. We need to make changes to our current Medicare system so that we are not addressing this issue again and again in a matter of months. If that doesn’t happen, many of our members may be forced to stop taking new Medicare patients and/or turn away current ones.”
The NMA believes our nation is about to take significant steps in improving access to quality healthcare for the uninsured and the underinsured with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) taking effect. However, if we do not invest in adequate support for primary care physicians to care for Medicaid patients, the improvements we expected as a result of the ACA will jeopardize the health of all Americans going forward.