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Bob Jansen , Published December 09 2010

Cuts threaten seniors’ doctors

At the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, doctors who treat Medicare patients are scheduled to absorb a 25 percent pay cut – a cut that threatens the ability of seniors to see their preferred physician and receive the care they need. This affects 108,000 North Dakotans in Medicare and more than 32,000 North Dakotans in Tricare, which has a payment system that is based on Medicare.

A new AARP survey shows that 81 percent of North Dakota AARP members in Medicare are concerned that this massive cut could hinder their ability to find a doctor. The same survey shows that seniors – no matter what political party they belong to – agree that Congress has a responsibility to keep physicians in the Medicare program by providing them with a stable payment system. It is up to Congress to stop this pay cut and ensure that doctors are not driven out of Medicare.

This critical situation is related to an old reimbursement formula that needs to be fixed – it has nothing to do with the recently enacted health care reform legislation. Congress needs to take responsibility and act to ensure that older Americans have access to the doctors they trust.