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Capitol Health Call
October 9, 2002

Medicare Payments

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1709. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1709

Unless new legislation is signed into law by November, Medicare providers will face a 4.4% cut in payments in 2003. Payments were cut 5.4% this year.

In response, health care lobbying groups are highlighting the fact that low payments are driving physicians out of the Medicare program. In September, the American Academy of Family Physicians reported that 22% of family physicians surveyed no longer accept new Medicare patients. The American Association of Health Plans survey of health maintenance organizations indicates that Medicare coverage of 200 000 plan members could be discontinued if the 2003 cuts take effect. While disappointed by those figures, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Thomas Scully, JD, said that he had expected the number of discontinued plan members "to be much worse."

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