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August 17, 2013

Letter: A chance to fix ailing Medicare system

To the editor:

Seniors, people with disabilities, military families and their health care providers should take note: there is hope that Congress is finally moving to make important changes to Medicare.

For more than a decade, Medicare reimbursements to physicians have been ruled by a formula calling for large annual cuts in payments.

Every year, physicians have worried about the viability of their practices; Medicare and Tricare military patients have wondered if their doctors would stop seeing them.

As Congress considers legislation to repeal the current payment formula and develop quality measures of care, the physicians of the Essex South District Medical Society and the Massachusetts Medical Society urge Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. John Tierney to continue to work toward these changes.

A new payment formula and improved quality measures must be created to stabilize Medicare well into the future and give patients peace of mind in knowing their doctors will be there for them. At the same time, it must help physicians, particularly those in small offices, to keep their practices viable and open to their patients.

Congress has never been closer to fixing a broken system than it is now. It should capture the opportunity and act.

Dr. Thomas A. Murray III

Salem

President, Essex South District Medical Society

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