Posted by Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MPH February 16, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Today the Prevention and Public Health Fund faces an immediate threat in the ongoing negotiations to temporarily forestall the impending cut in Medicare physician payments. A significant portion of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, $5 billion over ten years, has been targeted to offset the cost of the bill. Additionally, Medicaid spending for hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of low-income patients would be cut by $4 billion.
A solution to the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) must be found but the resolution does not lie in diverting money from public health and safety net hospitals.
Time is of the essence if we want to make a difference as the vote is likely to occur in the next 24 – 48 hours.
Please call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (202-224-3542) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (202-225-4965), and Senator Max Baucus (202-224-2651) today and urge them to protect the prevention fund and safety net hospitals.
Key points to make include:
1. Support the Prevention and Public Health Fund and oppose any efforts to reduce, eliminate or divert its funding to pay for the Medicare payment fix. Cutting a critical, overdue investment that bends the cost curve on chronic diseases is penny-wise and pound foolish.
2. It is counterproductive to cut prevention to pay for medical care. It’s the opposite approach to what is needed to help bend the cost curve. Chronic diseases are driving the increase in Medicare costs, accounting for 70 percent of all deaths and 75 percent of all Medicare spending. Instead of cutting public health funding, alternative mechanisms to fix the SGR are required.
3. Cutting funding to our safety net hospitals prior to the insurance expansions that will occur in 2014 puts these critical institutions at increased financial risk.
If you can spare 5 more minutes, call your Senators and Representative too. Use the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 or look up the names of your elected officials and their direct numbers here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
Thank you for taking the time to make your voice heard on this critical issue today!
Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MPH