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Organized medicine urges Congressional leadership to stop looming cuts to physicians' Medicare payments

The American Medical Association (AMA) has been joined by a group of over 100 national specialty and state medical societies, including the American College of Radiology, in writing to both Democratic and Republican Congressional leadership to express concern over "the mounting financial instability of the Medicare physician payment system."

The AMA and the other medical organizations thanked Congress for the action taken late last year to delay Medicare payment cuts that would have taken effect in 2022. Nevertheless, the annual cycle of Medicare physician fee cuts continues unabated. The medical societies note that physicians are the only Medicare provider who are not receiving an inflationary update in 2023. The continuing statutory freeze in annual Medicare physician payments is scheduled to last until 2026.

The AMA/medical society letter specifically requests that Congress: 

• Provide relief from the scheduled -4.42 percent 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 percent Advanced Alternative Payment Model (AAPM) participation incentive and halt the impossible-to-meet revenue threshold increase for five years to encourage more physicians to transition from fee-for-service into APMs. 

• Waive the 4 percent PAYGO sequester triggered by passage of the American Rescue Plan Act.

In a first step, new legislation was introduced last week by U.S. Reps. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Indiana) and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-California) in the House of Representatives to avert the incoming almost 4.5% cut to Medicare physician payments set to go into effect next year.  

But, as the 100 organizations urge, much more work needs to be done to avert all the looming Medicare payment cuts to physicians expected next year!

According to an AMA analysis of Medicare Trustees data, Medicare physician payment has been reduced 20% adjusted for inflation from 2001–2021.

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health care & life sciences, congress, medicare payment

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