Act Now: Advance the Supporting Medicare Providers Act

Reps. Ami Bera, MD (CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (IN) on Nov. 19 introduced the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 (H.R. 6020), which would extend a temporary 3.75% Medicare physician payment adjustment through 2022, avoiding budget-neutrality payment cuts initially included in the 2021 final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.

The legislation builds upon the Bera/Buschon letter, which encouraged House leadership to take action to reduce the impact of the slated Medicare payment reductions. A total of 247 members of Congress signed the letter, with ACC advocacy efforts leading to a 70% increase in signatories.

The payment cuts exacerbate financial uncertainty and further threaten patient care at a time when cardiovascular clinicians are still on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and have seen many patients forgo or delay non-COVID care. Individually, each of these reductions would be painful; taken together, they would be devastating. 

  • Expiration of the current reprieve from the 2% Medicare sequester created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which is now expected to continue into 2031, despite being originally slated for sunset in 2021.
  • Imposition of a 4% Statutory PAYGO sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
  • Expiration of the congressionally enacted 3.75% temporary, public health emergency-linked increase in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor to avoid payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments resulting from Medicare policy changes.

The ACC will continue to work with Congress to address these pending reductions. ACC members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support H.R. 6020 and protect patient access to Medicare services. Act now.

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, SARS-CoV-2, Policy, Patient Care, Physicians, Budgets, Fee Schedules, COVID-19, Public Health, Medicare

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