On January 1, 2024, a 3.37 percent across-the-board cut to Medicare physician payments took effect. A cut of this magnitude will have ripple effects across the entire healthcare system. There is, however, an opportunity for the payment cut to be canceled. Bipartisan legislation introduced at the end of 2023 – H.R. 6683, the Preserving Seniors’ Access to Physicians Act – would eliminate the entire payment cut.
Lawmakers must be persuaded to take action.
Congress must hear from their physician constituents now.
On January 19, President Biden signed another stopgap spending bill, or continuing resolution, into law that keeps federal agencies funded through early March. Passage of the bill averts a government shutdown and allows congressional lawmakers to continue negotiations on Fiscal Year 2024 spending.
The spending bill did not include relief to physicians who are currently stuck with the 3.37 percent across-the-board spending cut. The cut is a result of policies finalized in the 2024 Medicare physician fee schedule final rule.
ASNC and the entire medical society community have been pressuring lawmakers for months to help physicians by reversing the cut. The absence of action by Congress thus far should leave physicians feeling frustrated.
The payment cut follows Medicare physician fee reductions in 2022 and 2023 and zero inflation updates. At the same time, the Medicare Economic Index is rising because the cost of providing care has gone up. The result is a widening gap between Medicare payment and the cost of delivering care.
There is still an opportunity for Congress to act to halt or mitigate the payment cut. ASNC is renewing its “Call to Action” and encouraging every ASNC member to make their voice heard by sending an email to their elected members of Congress.