October 04, 2021
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy
The California Medical Association (CMA) is urging physicians to reach out to their Members of Congress and ask that they cosign a high-priority, bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter aimed at halting the nearly 10% Medicare provider pay cuts that are slated for the new year.
The letter initiative is being led by Congressmen Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), who are urging the U.S. House of Representatives leadership to stop the Medicare provider payment cuts before they take effect on January 1, 2022. The letter highlights the financial uncertainty within the Medicare payment system and the dangers these cuts could have on physicians’ ability to provide quality care for their patients if Congress fails to enact legislation to address these problems.
Physicians are facing a near 10% payment cut due to a perfect storm of cuts going into effect January 1 including:
- Expiration of the current Medicare 2% sequestration cut wavier given during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Imposition of an inadvertent 4% statutory “pay as you go” (PAYGO) budget neutrality sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Should lawmakers fail to act, it will mark the first time that Congress has failed to waive statutory PAYGO.
- Expiration of last year’s Congressionally enacted bill to stop the 3.75% payment cuts to the Medicare physician fee schedule. Physicians were facing these cuts due to budget neutrality adjustments in the fee schedule but fortunately, Congress stepped in and stopped the cuts.
- A freeze in annual inflation updates for Medicare physicians.
The combined effect of these changes would equate to a near 10% cut to physician payments beginning January 1, 2022. These payment cuts come at a time when physician practices are still recovering from the sheer exhaustion of, and financial instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the crisis continues, it is crucial that physicians have the stability and solvency to continue to care for patients everywhere.
Contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to sign on to this important “Dear Colleague” letter.