Disparities in Cardiovascular Care Increase As Congress Fails to Address Medicare Cuts

Washington, D.C.

The Association of Black Cardiologists calls on Congress to act with urgency to address long term physician payment reform under the Medicare program. While ABC appreciates Congressional action to temporarily halt the 21.2 percent Medicare payment cut mandated due to adjustments in Medicare’s physician payment formula, much more needs to be done to ensure that deserving beneficiaries continue to have access to providers able to accept Medicare patients.

Deep cuts in reimbursement for cardiovascular services and overall Medicare program cuts are hitting minority health professionals particularly hard. Many providers are faced with the devastating choice of closing their practices. This leaves an enormous void for minority patients, many of whom have few options for obtaining much needed health care.

“African American men die 7 years more prematurely due to cardiovascular disease than their white counterparts, and African American women die 4 years more prematurely. This tells us that cardiovascular care must be made a priority, and right now, Medicare isn’t making it a priority when providers cannot afford to continue to deliver care in underserved communities across this nation,” said Roquell Wyche, MD, Advocacy Chairperson for the Association of Black Cardiologists.

ABC urges Congress to address the deep cuts in cardiovascular care through immediate consideration and passage of H.R. 4371, legislation introduced by Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) to halt the cuts to cardiovascular care under the Medicare program. Each day that passes without addressing these cuts represents a blow to patients and the physicians who care for them. All providers and patients alike should contact their U.S. Senators and Representative and urge immediate action to stop Medicare’s cuts to cardiovascular care.

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