CHICAGO — With Congress and the Administration concluding legislative business for 2023 without addressing the 3.37-percent Medicare physician payment cuts that begin on January 1, 2024, the American Medical Association (AMA) urged legislative action shortly after the holidays to avoid imperiling patient access to care and jeopardizing physician practices.
Not only is there a bipartisan legislative fix – the Preserving Seniors’ Access to Physicians Act of 2023 (H.R.6683) – to completely eliminate the cuts, but the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization (NDAA) bill includes $2.2 billion in sequester cuts for physicians in a Medicare Improvement Fund – more than enough funding to stop the 3.37-percent cuts in their entirety.
“After three consecutive years of cuts to Medicare services, physicians and the patients they treat are at a crossroads. Facing a nearly 10-percent reduction in Medicare payments over the past four years and rising practice costs on top of the burdens and burnout of three years of COVID-19, for many physicians, continuing down this road is unsustainable,” said AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH. “These cuts will be felt first and hardest in rural and underserved areas that continue to face significant health care access challenges. Medicare physicians do not receive inflationary payment updates, which is why eliminating these cuts is so crucial.”
“But as Kate McCallister famously said in Home Alone, ‘This is Christmas – the season of perpetual hope.’ Congress has multiple paths to avert these cuts, preserve seniors’ access to their physicians, and ensure access to Medicare across the country; we have a bipartisan legislative fix and more than enough funding in the Medicare Improvement Fund. We urge lawmakers to act quickly, preserve Medicare access, and pass this vital legislation. They’ll have physicians and patients alike saying, ‘to us, you are perfect.’”
Information Source: American Medical Association