November 14, 2022
The California Medical Association (CMA) recently responded to a congressional request for stakeholder input on actions Congress should take to stabilize the Medicare payment system and bring our health care system into the 21st Century.
CMA submitted a letter that details the association’s priorities for Medicare payment system reform, which include:
- Providing stability and sustainability in the Medicare physician fee schedule by stopping the payment cuts through HR 8800 “Supporting Medicare Providers Act,” implementing an annual inflation update and reforming cuts caused by budget neutrality.
- Reducing the incentives that have driven provider consolidation and increased health care costs.
- Reducing the substantial administrative burdens in the Medicare MACRA Quality Payment Program.
- Authorizing a variety of voluntary alternative payment models to allow more physicians to participate.
- Addressing the widening gap between Medicare payment and geographic practice costs.
- Adopting California physician’s successful value-based care models.
Congress must transform the Medicare payment system in a comprehensive way as soon as possible to maintain physician participation and patient access to care. It will be imperative to sustain physician practices and ensure a robust physician workforce to care for the growing number of America’s seniors, and to move toward innovative, physician-led, patient-centered value-based care models. According to a recent CMA survey, 76% of physicians reported that Medicare payments no longer cover their costs to provide care and it is causing many physicians to seriously consider not accepting new patients, leaving Medicare, or retiring early.
It is also critically important that we approach payment reforms with a focus on health equity. We must ensure that payment reform and innovations equip physicians to reduce inequities, rather than penalizing them. Supporting physicians so they can care for patients from historically underserved communities, will improve not only our health care system but the health of our nation. The foundational principles that “equity = access” must be the compass that guides us forward.
For more details, see CMA’s letter.
Urge Congress to stop the Medicare payment cuts
CMA also continues to urge physicians to tell Congress to stop the looming Medicare physician payment cuts. Unless Congress acts by the end of the year, physicians face more than 8.5% in Medicare payment cuts in 2023 due to a confluence of statutory and budget neutrality payment cuts.
If these cuts are allowed to take effect, these cuts will severely impede patient access to care. As physicians will be forced to reduce participation in Medicare. As physicians continue to struggle to recover from the pandemic, the situation is dire.
Click here to urge your Senators and Representatives to protect the nation’s Medicare patients by stopping the cuts. (Sample letter and talking points provided.)