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Upton Recognized as Health Leader by American Medical Association

AMA honors Upton for leadership to permanently fix the flawed Medicare physician payment system, protect most vulnerable

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Washington, DC, March 6, 2014 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761) | comments
The American Medical Association (AMA) has recognized Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for his outstanding leadership as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton was selected for the AMA’s top government service award because of his efforts to permanently repeal and replace the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) that is used to reimburse our nation’s physicians. The current Medicare payment system has been a source of continued uncertainty within the health care and senior communities. The existing system jeopardizes seniors’ access to care and threatens physicians who serve Medicare beneficiaries with substantial across-the-board cuts in reimbursement.

“Health care is about providing the highest quality of care and giving patients greater peace of mind. But for far too long the flawed Medicare physician payment system has been a cause of undue concern for our nation’s seniors and doctors,” said Upton. “Michigan seniors deserve to know that their trusted physician will continue to be there for them. For more than three years, my committee has helped lead the effort to protect our most vulnerable and create a system that secures stable payments for health care providers.”

As its Chairman, Upton’s committee has a track record of bipartisan success in approving legislation to advance and improve public health, with eight health laws enacted in the 113th Congress alone. Among those is legislation to advance health research for millions of young patients who suffer from rare and genetic disorders, and the enactment of another bill to secure the nation’s drug supply chain and prevent a repeat of 2012’s deadly meningitis outbreak.

Enacted in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act, the SGR has been a source of concern for physicians who serve Medicare beneficiaries and for the beneficiaries themselves. For more than a decade, Congress has enacted short-term legislative patches to delay the SGR cuts to physicians, causing great uncertainty for providers and patients, and has come at a great expense to American taxpayers.

In July 2013, Upton’s committee unanimously approved bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2810) to permanently fix the flawed SGR. This February, Upton joined other House and Senate leaders in announcing a bicameral solution to replace the long-troubled Medicare payment system.

“The AMA strongly supports the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 and commends Representative Upton for his role in advancing it through Congress,” said AMA Chair David O. Barbe, M.D., MHA. “We are proud to celebrate Representative Upton’s leadership and dedication to improving our nation’s health care system throughout his 26 years of service.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Dr. Nathan Davis Awards. Since 1989, the AMA has honored 216 individuals with this recognition.

"During the last quarter century of the Nathan Davis Awards, the AMA has sought to recognize government officials who go above and beyond the call of duty to improve public health,” said Dr. Barbe. “Award winners have come from every branch of government service and are a testament to the important role public officials play in creating and implementing health policy that benefits Americans.”
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