1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
Phone: (800) 635-1196
Hotline: (800) 419-4777
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto



Nov. 10, 2003

Some recent news stories have mistakenly stated that AAPS and others would support a Medicare bill if it includes Medical Savings Accounts.

As our letter clearly states, our actual position is that we will not support any bill unless it includes several free market provisions, including MSAs.

But inclusion of even those important reforms will not allow us to support a bill that creates a new, open-ended drug or other entitlement.

Read the letter to members of the Congressional Conference Committee:

October 17, 2003

Dear Senator Frist:

On behalf of the thousands of physician members of the Association of American Physicians (AAPS) and the hundreds of thousands of patients they represent, we are writing to thank you for your leadership on Medicare, and to urge you to included several provisions currently under consideration in the final report issued by the conference committee.

We know that you have heard from other physician organizations regarding physician payment rates. But we believe other issues are much more important as they have long-term implications for the program and patient choice.

Since 1943, AAPS has been dedicated to protecting the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship from third-party interference. Our patients tell us they want more control of and flexibility in their medical choices. There are several specific provisions that would satisfy these demands from patients and physicians as well:

1. Premium price support reform to allow an FEHBP-model that would provide incentives to begin to re-introduce free-market competition that would reduce costs and allow patients more control;

2. Expansion of all health savings accounts.

Inclusion of these two provisions will not only give present beneficiaries more choice, but also give future beneficiaries the vehicles to begin saving for medical costs. Further, they will help slow the timeline for Medicare's pending insolvency.

An AAPS survey of 344 physicians to be released this month shows that one-third of physicians do not accept new Medicare patients, 40 percent restrict services, and 41 percent are having difficulty finding referrals for patients. These numbers clearly demonstrate the urgent need for physician- and patient-friendly reforms that allow more autonomy.

These market-based measures must be included in the conference report if the program is to continue to serve today's seniors and future retirees. Our patients tell us they will settle for nothing less.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that Medicare modernization is integrated with competitive measures.

Sincerely yours,

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director