“While the AAOS is pleased that the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 has temporarily averted the sequestration and Medicare physician payment cuts and has prevented our nation from falling off the ‘fiscal cliff,’ a permanent solution to both of these issues is vital to the health of our patients and our economy.
“Short term patches to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) continue to breed uncertainty among patients and their physicians, hamper the medical community’s efforts to improve quality and lower healthcare costs, and further burden a strained U.S. economy.
“The called-for sequestration cuts to critical healthcare programs and physician payments would exacerbate physician efforts to improve quality and reduce costs in our healthcare system by jeopardizing patient access to care, thwarting innovation, and slashing an already strained healthcare workforce.
“It is true that our nation faces significant fiscal challenges and with healthcare costs currently accounting for over 17 percent of our GDP, we as physicians have a real duty to reduce inefficiencies in our healthcare system.
“The AAOS and other members of the physician community are actively collaborating with public and private stakeholders to provide more efficient and effective care to our patients, not only to improve outcomes and contribute to a healthier America, but also to assist in getting our nation’s fiscal house in order.
“The AAOS will continue to work with Congress and other members of the healthcare community to find a permanent solution to the sequester by identifying thoughtful fiscal reforms that continue to streamline our healthcare system but also maintain funding for federal payment for medical services, medical innovation, and healthcare quality improvement.
“The AAOS also urges the 113th Congress to work with the physician community to eliminate the SGR and develop a sustainable payment system that rewards effective and accountable healthcare for our patients.”
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