Letter from Bipartisan Senate Lawmakers Urges Leadership to Act on Medicare Payment Cuts
A bipartisan coalition of over 50 Senators co-signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday, November 2nd, urging quick and decisive action to mitigate financial insecurity caused by recently-finalized Medicare physician payment cuts planned for next year.
Physicians and experts say that these cuts will make it more difficult for physicians, including physical and occupational therapists, to practice medicine on their terms. These cuts are set to push physicians into financial insecurity and jeopardize patients’ access to care, especially for the country’s most medically vulnerable and underserved communities.
In their letter to Senate leadership, the bipartisan co-signers called for legislative action before the end of 2022 to mitigate these impacts. Unless addressed quickly, the cuts will begin going into effect on January 1.
“Providers across the country face significant financial hardship due to higher practice costs and the impacts of COVID-19. Financial uncertainty due to pending payment cuts will only compound these challenges. In the coming weeks, we must ensure providers have the resources they need to keep their doors open for seniors and families,” the letter states.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initially proposed these cuts over the summer and finalized them this week, officially reducing Medicare payments to physicians next year by 4.5%. With additional Medicare cuts embedded in prior law, physicians and policy experts say the cuts will be closer to 8.5% and could easily surpass 10% with inflating costs to buy medical supplies and hire staff.
This financial uncertainty will directly affect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to quality physical and occupational therapy. Enacting bipartisan legislation, such as H.R. 8800 introduced recently by Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), is a crucial first step toward ensuring all Americans can access quality physical therapy services. The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) commends the bipartisan signatories for expressing this urgent need for action.
“Failure to act in the coming weeks could result in reduced staffing levels and office closures, jeopardizing patient access to care. We are especially concerned about this impact on rural and underserved communities. Failure to act on longer-term reforms will undermine Medicare’s ability to deliver on its promises to future seniors and generations,” the letter concluded.
To ask your lawmakers to support H.R. 8800, CLICK HERE.