MMA Urges Congress to Take Action to Avoid Medicare Cuts

Unless Congress acts, physician practices face multiple Medicare cuts that amount to a combined 9.75 percent cut on Jan. 1, 2022. This was the message MMA President Marilyn Peitso, MD, relayed to members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation in a Sept. 22 letter encouraging them to act soon to stop these cuts.

Her communication asked all of Minnesota’s delegation to sign on to a letter to House leadership reminding them that Congress must provide stability in the Medicare payment system before it can adopt long-term reforms. To date, Rep. Angie Craig (D), Rep. Tom Emmer (R), Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D) have signed on.

Earlier this year, Congress provided a 3.75 percent increase to offset projected cuts to the physician fee schedule.  This increase sunsets at the end of 2021. In addition, there is a 4 percent cut due to the statutory “pay-as-you-go” requirements that were needed to pay for the American Rescue Plan, and an additional 2 percent cut caused by an expiring moratorium on earlier cuts.

“Medicare payments have failed to keep up with inflation over the past 10 years, and practices cannot sustain a significant cut without harm to patient access,” wrote Peitso. “While continued work is needed to evolve Medicare payments toward to a value-based payment system, our elected officials must first work to bring stability to the payments by stopping the scheduled cuts.”

Congress needs to hear from physicians to stop these scheduled cuts. Click onto the AMA’s Physician Grassroots Network alert to send an email message to your member of Congress. These potential cuts come at a time when most physician practices are still recovering from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the personal stress caused by it.