WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ planned physician payment cuts scheduled to begin January 1, 2022 and maintain the current levels through next year.
“Cutting physician payments while we continue to navigate through a pandemic is a terrible policy that could exacerbate our situation. We’re demanding more of our doctors now than ever before and this legislation will ensure patients continue to have access to quality and affordable health care,” Boozman said.
“Our frontline physicians have worked heroically throughout the COVID pandemic to keep our families and communities healthy,” said Padilla. “The pandemic has not ended, and it would be wrong to now cut their pay and jeopardize patient care. I’m glad to work with Senator Boozman on this commonsense measure to support our medical professionals.”
“Our nation’s health care heroes have proven to be the first line of defense while facing unprecedented mental health and economic challenges,” said Marshall. “As we reach our second year of overcoming COVID-19, health care providers have not yet been able to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. Simply put, Congress cannot afford to cut their pay. If Congress does not address these reimbursement cuts by the end of the year, it will drastically impact the future of health care delivery and our nation’s ability to combat future pandemics. I urge Senate leadership to immediately pass our bipartisan legislation.”
“Montana’s health care workers have continued to work tirelessly to keep our state safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and cutting their pay is not an option,” said Tester. “We’re already facing a shortage of frontline physicians, particularly in rural areas, and slashing these payments would have disastrous effects on the health and well-being of families in the Treasure State.”
“Time is running out to find a solution that protects our nation’s seniors by stopping these harmful Medicare cuts,” said American College of Surgeons’ Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. “While the bill introduced by Senators Boozman, Padilla, Marshall and Tester is an important step to stopping these harmful cuts, Congress needs to understand this is not enough. If these cuts take effect, they will further exacerbate the strain surgeons and other health care providers are facing due to the pandemic.”
Last year, through the Fiscal Year 2021 Consolidated Appropriations and COVID-19 Relief and Response Act, Boozman fought for and Congress passed a 3.75 percent payment increase to mitigate cuts to health care providers for one year. This legislation would extend the 3.75 percent payment adjustment through 2022.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN).