Reps. Bera and Bucshon Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Stop Physician Pay Cuts Under Medicare
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) today announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to provide critical relief to physicians responding to the COVID-19 pandemic who are currently scheduled to receive Medicare payment cuts next year. The Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 (H.R. 6020) would extend the 2021 Medicare physician payment adjustment of 3.75% for an additional year.
“As an internal medicine doctor by training, I know that cutting payments for physicians during the middle of a global pandemic will only further strain our health care system and the ability for health care professionals to serve their patients,” said Representative Bera, who previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County. “That’s why I’m introducing the bipartisan Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 with my good friend and fellow doctor Representative Bucshon, M.D. to prevent these harmful cuts from occurring. Our frontline health care workers are heroes keeping our communities safe and healthy during this pandemic, and they deserve our full and unwavering support.”
“Beginning on January 1, 2022, many specialists, therapists, and other physicians will be faced with substantial reimbursement cuts – up to 9 percent for many providers, if Congress does not act. These cuts would make our nation’s doctors work longer hours for less pay during the worst global health crisis of our generation,” said Dr. Bucshon. “I want to thank my friend and fellow doctor, Congressman Ami Bera (D-Calif.) for his partnership in leading the bipartisan Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021, which will ensure Americans continue to have access to quality care in their communities. I look forward to continuing to work with congressional leaders to find practical ways to pay for this proposal and advance this important bill into law before January 1, 2022.”
Reps. Bera and Bucshon led over 245 Members of Congress in an October 2021 letter urging House Leadership to address the looming Medicare payment cuts to health care providers that will further strain patient access to care.
“The CMA is deeply grateful to Congressmen Ami Bera (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) for introducing legislation that will stop some of the Medicare cuts physicians are facing next year. Physicians who have faithfully served on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and put their lives and their families at risk are exhausted. The viability of our practices have suffered and we are not out of the woods yet. This bill will help to stabilize physician practices so that we can continue to care for our patients,” said CMA President Robert E. Wailes, MD.
“The American College of Surgeons strongly supports the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021, which would extend critical relief to surgeons who are facing drastic Medicare payment cuts,” said American College of Surgeons Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. “We applaud Representatives Bera and Bucshon for their continued leadership and their tireless efforts to ensure patients maintain access to the surgical care they need.”
“Congress needs to create stability in the health care system by stopping the immediate payment cuts to surgeons and other health care professionals while considering longer-term reforms to the payment system,” said American College of Surgeons Incoming Executive Director Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS. “Without action, the irresponsible cuts, set to take effect in less than two months, will jeopardize patient access to medically necessary services.”
“As internal medicine physicians continue to struggle with the financial challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cuts to all physician services that are scheduled to take effect in January would greatly harm the ability of practices to care for patients. The legislation proposed by Representatives Bera and Bucshon will provide much needed support for physician practices to ensure that they can continue to deliver high quality care to their patients. It is vital that Congress approves this legislation this year to ensure these cuts are not imposed in 2022,” said George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, FIDSA, President American College of Physicians.
"The American Medical Association is grateful that Reps. Bera and Bucshon recognize the folly of cutting Medicare physician payments 3.75 percent when physician practices are still recovering from the personal and financial impacts of the pandemic. The AMA is strongly advocating for Congress to avert this and other looming cuts to Medicare physician payments that, overall, will produce a combined 9.75 percent cut for 2022. Thankfully, Congress is working to address this financial instability before it limits health care access for Medicare patients," said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D.