US Senators Push for Legislation to Stabilize Medicare Payments to Physicians
US Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Barrasso (R-WY) have been leading an effort to address Medicare physician payments. The Senators have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to other senators to sign onto; current signatories include Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Marshall (R-KS), and Boozman (R-MT). Once circulated, the letter will then be sent to Senate leadership.
The letter expresses serious concerns regarding the stability of Medicare payments for physicians and voices support for bipartisan, long-term payment reform. The letter also urges Congress to address the scheduled budget neutrality cuts on January 1, 2023, in Medicare physician fee schedule payments to ensure seniors continue to have access to care. Although the letter does not address all of organized medicine’s immediate concerns with Medicare physician payment, it would provide relief from scheduled reductions in physician payments.
In collaboration with the American Medical Association and other medical societies, ISASS continues to urge Congress to act before the end of 2022 to address the following concerns, some of which are also addressed in the efforts by Senators Stabenow and Barrasso:
• Provide relief from the scheduled -4.42% budget neutrality cut in Medicare physician fee schedule payments.
• End the statutory annual freeze and provide a Medicare Economic Index (MEI) update for the coming year.
• Extend the 5% Advanced Alternative Payment Model (AAPM) participation incentive and halt the impossible-to-meet revenue threshold increase for 5 years to encourage more physicians to transition from fee-for-service into AAPMs.
• Waive the 4% PAYGO sequester triggered by passage of the American Rescue Plan Act.