Bipartisan Senate workgroup formed to explore Medicare payment reforms

February 20, 2024

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators last week announced the formation of a Medicare payment reform working group. The primary goal of this group—which includes Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.)— is to explore policy solutions to reform and stabilize the Medicare physician payment system and ensure sustained access to quality care for patients. The Senate Finance Committee is also expected to take up the issue of long-term Medicare physician payment reforms this year.

“As the health care system has evolved since the inception of the Medicare program, the physician payment system has failed to keep pace with the actual cost of care and the improvements in new services and technologies,” the Senate working group said in a statement. “Medicare Part B is a lifeline for tens of millions of Americans, covering a wide array of services, including primary and outpatient care, preventive services, durable medical equipment, and more….We believe Congress must make changes to the current Medicare physician payment system to ensure financial stability for providers, improve patient outcomes, promote access to quality care, and incentivize the utilization of emerging health care technology.”

The working group will be reaching out to stakeholders in the coming weeks to seek feedback and to begin developing policies that will address Medicare physician payment for the long-term. The California Medical Association (CMA) will be fully engaged in these discussions and will keep physicians informed.

Efforts to Stop the 2024 Cut Continue

CMA continues to urge Congress to reverse the 3.37% Medicare physician payment cut that took effect on January 1, 2024. 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. Read More: Tell your Senators to sign the "cancel the cut" letter


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