Contact: Kathryn Serkes 202.333.3855
November 20, 2003
AAPS TO DOCTORS: DON’T SELL OUT MEDICARE PATIENTS FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE;
Washington, D.C. -- Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, issued the following statement to be released at a news conference held in Washington D.C. by the Coalition Against Higher Medicare Drug Costs:
“We had high hopes for the opportunity to start to restructure the crumbling Medicare with free market protections, cost controls, and patient choice that are available to those under the age of 65.
“But we cannot support a reckless, open-ended entitlement in exchange for a token demonstration project and hollow promise of regulatory reform. Both may be doomed to failure by design.
“Some liberals oppose the bill because they claim that conservatives are destroying Medicare and handing it over to private interests. We oppose it because it doesn’t go far enough to include free market reforms.
“The AMA has made physician payment rates the litmus test for their support of this bill. Extracting a few more dollars for payments -- that frequently don’t even cover overhead -- won’t be of much help to anyone. We find we find it unconscionable that any physician would sell out patients for just a few bucks.
“A survey released today by AAPS shows that physicians already spend almost one-fourth of their time complying with Medicare regulations, and that they will retire early because of government interference. They are fleeing the system.
“The AAPS motto is ‘always for the patient. Doctors take an oath to ‘do no harm.’ We suggest politicians think about doing the same and vote against this bill.
“This bill will harm patients—all patients, not just those in Medicare. We cannot support it.”
AAPS is a dues-supported, non-partisan, professional association of physicians in all specialties, dedicated since 1943 to protecting the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.