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Hotline: (800) 419-4777
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto

July 30, 1999


Government Involvement in Medical Care Hurts Seniors & Doctors, Leads to Rationing
Contact: Kathryn Serkes (202) 333-3855

For advance results of the Medicare survey, e-mail: [email protected]

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) declares July 30, 1999 as the fifth annual "Medicare Patient Freedom Day" to draw attention to the negative impact of Medicare rules and restrictions on patient care and privacy.

In the next week, AAPS will issue "Medicare Freedom Alerts" including information such as:

  • The results of a national survey of physicians which clearly demonstrates that Medicare regulations make it MORE difficult for seniors to receive medical care
  • Stories of government interference into seniors’ medical care and how physicians are prevented from providing patients with the most appropriate, timely and effective treatments
  • How mandatory prescription drug coverage will actually harm patients
  • The "Medicare Patient Freedom Resolution" to be sent to Congress calling for unrestricted private contracts for Medicare-eligible patients
  • How physicians can "opt out" of Medicare

BACKGROUND: In 1995, AAPS marked the 30th anniversary of Medicare with the first "Medicare Patient Freedom Day." Doctors across the country treated Medicare patients for $1 cash, and refused to file claims for reimbursement from taxpayers. The government’s response? It was illegal for patients to receive the treatment they wanted and pay for it themselves -- even if Medicare wouldn’t cover that treatment.

This turned the spotlight on the unconscionable government rationing of care to seniors. Headlines read "Patients Lose Medical Rights at 65," "Brain Surgery for a Buck," and "Take the Government Money -- Or Else." The public began to call for changes in Medicare that would allow seniors to enter into private contracts with physicians -- the same freedom enjoyed by everyone under the age of 65.

Congress responded by passing the Balanced Budget Amendment Section 4507, which allowed private contracting - - but only if a doctor withdraws from ALL Medicare for ALL patients for a period of two years. AAPS continues to work for changes to allow unrestricted private contracting.

AAPS Medicare Patient Freedom Resolution 1999

AAPS Declaration of Support for Medicare Patient Freedom Day