Leading voice for physicians in Georgia disappointed with Supreme Court decision, stresses patients will struggle to find access to medical care

June 28, 2012 - ATLANTA – The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is disappointed with today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), according to MAG President Sandra B. Reed, M.D. She also stresses that the decision is irrelevant unless the systems that the government and other third party payers use to pay physicians are reformed in a full and comprehensive way.

"These cost control-driven entities must change the way they pay physicians or we simply won't have enough physicians to care for patients," explains Dr. Reed, emphasizing that patient care will always be a physician's top priority. "We also should be alarmed that we are losing our freedom and autonomy as patients and physicians with each passing day."

She points out that Medicare physicians face a crippling 32 percent cut in pay on January 1, 2013, which – because even more physicians will be forced to opt out of the program as a practical economic matter – means that seniors and young people with disabilities will struggle to find a physician. Dr. Reed says that the Georgia Department of Community Health's Board of Directors, meanwhile, has reported that the number of physicians who participate in the Medicaid program in Georgia – which pays physicians at a rate that is less than the cost of delivering services – is down by 15 percent in the past five years. She believes that, "The state is clearly on an unsustainable track, especially when you consider that more than 600,000 additional Georgians are in line to enter the Medicaid system in Georgia in 2014."

Dr. Reed concludes that, "Change notwithstanding, physicians are going to continue to be forced to leave the Medicare and Medicaid programs in large numbers or face bankrupting their practices. That means it's going to become increasingly difficult for our neediest patients to find a physician in their hour of need." She adds that, "What's been lost in the debate is that just because a patient has a health insurance card doesn't necessarily mean they will have access to a physician."

In terms of sustainable solutions, she is encouraging patients and physicians in Georgia to support the "My Medicare. My Choice." campaign to reform the Medicare program by visiting She is also urging lawmakers to support tort reform and insurance reform measures, as well as reduce the enormous administrative burden that has been placed on physicians.

MAG will formulate an advocacy strategy in light of the Supreme Court ruling when its House of Delegates meets in Savannah in October. Go to for more information on MAG.