CHICAGO -- In a letter to congressional leaders, the American Medical Association (AMA) and every state medical society are telling Congress that any cut to Medicare payments will “undermine Medicare’s ability to deliver on its promises to seniors.”
The letter comes as Congress faces a Jan. 1 deadline to fend off the cuts. The letter makes clear that any cut would prove harmful to seniors who seek health care.
“We cannot overstate the importance of Congress stopping the entirety of the upcoming 4.5% reduction,” the letter says.
This urgent plea comes on the heels of a letter from the AMA and more than 100 health care groups asking Congress to act quickly.
All 50 state medical societies and the District of Columbia signed on to the letter below.
On behalf of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the undersigned state medical associations representing hundreds of thousands of physicians and the patients they serve, we strongly urge Congressional action to prevent the entire 4.5% reduction to Medicare payment rates from being implemented on January 1, 2023. This desperately needed relief will help provide crucial short-term financial stability for practices until permanent, bipartisan payment reforms are enacted.
The impending 4.5% Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) payment cut comes as medical practices throughout the country are experiencing pressures stemming from rising rates of inflation. All health care stakeholders struggle to endure steep, annual payment reductions; however, the negative impact of such policy decisions is exacerbated by the fact that physicians are the only providers whose Medicare payments do not automatically receive an annual inflationary update. This statutory flaw that characterizes the MPFS consistently leads to financial uncertainty and budgetary challenges for all physicians. The stark reality is that, adjusted for inflation in practice costs, Medicare physician pay has declined 22 percent from 2001 to 2021. Allowing cuts to Medicare payments is simply unacceptable during this time of record inflation and coming on the heels of a highly disruptive pandemic.
Burnout, stress, workload, and the cumulative impact of COVID-19 are leading one in five physicians to consider leaving their current practice within two years. Payment cuts will only accelerate this unsustainable trend and undoubtedly lead to Medicare patients struggling to access health care services. As a result, we cannot overstate the importance of Congress stopping the looming 4.5% reduction, in full. Put simply, the cost of Congressional inaction is an across-the-board cut that will further amplify the financial hardship physician practices are already facing while inhibiting Medicare from delivering on its promises to seniors and future generations.
Thank you for your consideration.