To ensure continued access to vital physician and surgical services for Medicare patients, Congress must create a long-term, sustainable, and fair solution for Medicare physician reimbursement rates. Lawmakers must take action to improve the physician payment system by providing an inflationary payment update, revisiting budget-neutrality requirements, and maintaining the 10- and 90-day global surgery payment package.
For more than 20 years, Medicare payments have been under pressure from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) anti-inflationary payment policies, and they are perennial targets for cuts among lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Although Congress voted to mitigate the majority of a scheduled combined 9.75% cut to physician reimbursement under Medicare in December 2021, physicians are still facing smaller phased-in cuts over the course of this year.
These cuts come as the costs of running a medical practice have grown exponentially in recent years. The administrative and financial challenges of participating in Medicare — coupled with increasingly burdensome regulatory requirements and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — have placed many physicians at risk of losing their practices. If not addressed, these pressures will negatively impact access to care for Medicare patients.
Congress must ensure fair Medicare reimbursement for physicians
In order to protect Medicare patients’ access to care and provide stability for physicians and their practices, the Academy strongly encourages members of Congress to halt all upcoming scheduled cuts to Medicare physician reimbursement rates. The Academy is eager to work with Congress on a long-term, sustainable, and fair solution for the Medicare physician payment system.