Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Fixes Medicare Reimbursement Rate To Put Patients First

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:       
November 19, 2009

Contact:  Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665

KAGEN  FIXES  MEDICARE  REIMBURSEMENT  RATE  TO  PUT  PATIENTS  FIRST

(WASHINGTON, DC)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. is putting patients first, just as he has done for more than thirty years as a physician.  Kagen voted for the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act which will prevent a cut in payments to physicians through Medicare, securing access to care for both senior citizens and military veterans covered by TRICARE.

“We are putting patients first and saving jobs in the health care profession,” said Dr. Kagen.  “This bill will preserve seniors’ access to their doctors, making sure that doctors are able to continue serving families in our community.”

The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act will prevent a 21 percent cut in Medicare physician payment rates scheduled for January 2010.  Instead of temporarily overriding the cut, as Congress has done six times before, the bill will replace the broken Sustainable Growth Rate formula, correcting a decade of mismanagement of the Medicare program with a permanent, sustainable solution.  Ultimately, the legislation protects access to physicians for Medicare beneficiaries.  It also protects members of the military and their families since physician payment rates in TRICARE are tied to those used by Medicare.

“We are fixing the formula by which reimbursement rates are calculated so that we reward quality care not quantity of tests.  Doctors in Wisconsin provide high quality care at a price we can all afford to pay.  We are creating a marketplace where that can continue,” said Kagen.

The bill preserves seniors’ access to their doctors.  It promotes primary care to keep us healthier for longer by providing an extra growth allowance for primary care services and promoting access to primary care practitioners in Medicare and throughout the health care system.  It also encourages the formation of Accountable Care Organizations which incentivize physicians to take responsibility for improving quality and reducing costs.

“This bill is about the health of our economy and the health of our bodies.  I am working hard to guarantee access to health care for all of us.  Now, Wisconsin’s doctors and hospitals will be able to continue offering high quality medical care at low costs as we put our economy on the road to recovery,” said Kagen.

Kagen has been working tirelessly to strengthen and protect Medicare by fixing unfair provisions that penalize states like Wisconsin.  In the Affordable Health Care for America Act passed by the House, Medicare providers in Wisconsin will see higher payments from Medicare.  For years, Medicare paid more for the same service in other states than it does in Wisconsin.  Dr. Kagen is a member of the Quality Care Coalition, a group of Members of the House who have been working together to ensure that rural areas are treated fairly when it comes to Medicare reimbursement.  The Affordable Health Care for America Act also closed the Donut Hole in Medicare Part D.

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