January 24, 2024
Because of Congressional inaction at the end of the year, a new round of devastating Medicare physician payment cuts went into effect on January 1, 2024. This 3.37% reduction comes after three years of consecutive cuts to Medicare services.
Last week, Congress passed another continuing resolution to keep US government funding at current levels through March 1, 2024, until they can work out all the details of new funding for a multitude of programs, including stopping the Medicare physician payment cut.
If this latest cut is left in place, physician Medicare payments will have been reduced by almost 10% in four years. This is simply unsustainable for our nation's physicians and the patients they serve.
Contact your members of Congress today and urge them to fix the flawed Medicare physician payment system by supporting the bipartisan H.R. 6683 – the “Preserving Seniors’ Access to Physicians Act of 2023” – and to reverse the 3.37% Medicare payment cut that took effect on January 1.
If Congress partially or entirely stops the cut, they will do so retroactively and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will adjust any claims already paid at the lower rate.
Medicare Cuts Are Unsustainable
The latest 3.37% cut comes after three years of consecutive cuts to Medicare physician payments. If Congress does not act, Medicare payments will have been cut by almost 10% in four years, which is simply unsustainable for our nation's physicians.
To make matters worse, physicians are the only Medicare providers whose payments do not automatically receive an annual inflationary update, which means we will not receive a 4.6% update in 2024 like other health care providers. Because of this major flaw in the payment system, Medicare physician payments have lagged 26% behind the rate of inflation since 2001.
More than 6.5 million Californians are enrolled in Medicare and many of these seniors can no longer find a physician who is accepting new Medicare patients. Other patients are waiting longer to see a physician. This lack of access to care is coming at a time when California has growing numbers of seniors with multiple chronic conditions that require more resources. In a recent CMA survey, 70% of California physicians reported that they could be forced to limit their Medicare patient load and nearly half of the physician respondents said they are considering retiring early if the cuts went into effect.
Take Action: Tell Congress to reverse Medicare cuts