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."
Vastag B. Medicare Payments. JAMA. 2002;288(14):1709. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1709