Congress fails to stop entire Medicare physician payment cut

March 06, 2024
Area(s) of Interest: Public Payors 

As Congress prepares to pass legislation that reverses only half of the 3.37% Medicare physician payment cut implemented on January 1, 2024, the California Medical Association (CMA) is exasperated that for the fourth straight year physicians will face a payment cut. While the cut is 1.68%, coupled with medical inflation, physicians will experience a devastating 6% cut in 2024. 

“While CMA appreciates the support from many lawmakers in Congress, this legislation will continue the staggering ‘death by a thousand cuts’ that Congress has allowed for the last two decades,” said CMA president Tanya W. Spirtos, M.D. "California physicians are angry that Congress has allowed yet another destructive payment cut to proceed."

Adjusted for inflation, physicians have experienced a 30% decline in payment since 2001, while other Medicare providers received 60% increases during the same time period.

“Make no mistake: These difficult cuts will further jeopardize physician practices, forcing more physicians into consolidation with larger, more expensive health care systems or private equity, into limiting the number of Medicare patients or into earlier retirement,” Dr. Spirtos added. “This will further challenge seniors seeking to find timely care.”   

According to a CMA physician survey, two-thirds of physicians said Medicare payments do not cover their costs to provide care, with the result that nearly half are planning to retire early, and 70% are limiting the number of Medicare patients they can treat. In many California communities, no primary care physicians can accept new Medicare patients. According to a recent Definitive Health care study, 117,000 physicians nationwide left the workforce in 2021. Because patients cannot access physicians, wait times in California emergency departments average eight hours.

"Physicians are the foundation of the health care system, and we can no longer weather these cuts without Congress enacting long-term, meaningful Medicare payment reform," said Dr. Spirtos. "CMA is urging Congress to immediately address Medicare’s woefully inadequate physician reimbursement rates and the growing access to care crisis it is causing. CMA stands ready to continue working with Congress to reform Medicare.”


Was this article helpful?    
Download the New CMADocs app!

Download the new CMADocs app!

CMA's new mobile app lets you connect with your colleagues and engage with CMA content!  Download the "CMADocs" app today from the Apple or Google Play app stores for daily news updates, events calendar, resource library and more.

Latest News

Load More