Hundreds of physicians from across the country, including a delegation from Iowa, are in Washington D.C. today to take part in a protest march over a proposed Medicare cut. Dr. James Hubbard, a pediatrician from Dubuque, says the cut could have an impact on more than a half-million people in the state.
Hubbard says, "In Iowa, there are roughly 469,000 seniors and 42,000 military family members who may be effected by these cuts and these are cuts to physician payments that Medicare has scheduled to go into effect in July." He says every year, there’s a new round of threatened or actual cuts which can have a significant impact on the health care coverage for a wide section of the population.
Hubbard says the cuts are "basically the result of a somewhat flawed reimbursement system that physicians have with the Medicare program," which he says may force doctors to stop accepting Medicare patients. Speaking with Radio Iowa from Washington D.C., Hubbard says he and the other doctors hope to encourage Congress to support new legislation that will preserve senior citizens’ access to health care by stopping this year’s Medicare cut to physicians, a cut he calls "harsh." The protest march is slated for 9 A.M. Central time.
"There’s roughly a thousand doctors here because this is a problem that all the doctors in the country are worried about," Hubbard says. "We’re out here and we’re actually going to walk on the Capitol in our white coats just so we can draw attention to this problem." He says the cut will hurt seniors as 60-percent of physicians say it will force them to limit the number of new Medicare patients they can treat.