Bipartisan Majority of the U.S. House of Representatives Urge House Leaders to Stop Harmful Medicare Cuts

Bipartisan Majority of the U.S. House of Representatives Urge House Leaders to Stop Harmful Medicare Cuts

246 U.S. Representatives and 135 National Medical Groups Sent a Letter to Protect Patient Access to Care

WASHINGTON, October 15, 2021 – Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D-Calif.) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.), along with 244 colleagues — and with the support of 135 national medical organizations — sent a letter yesterday to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging them to stop impending Medicare cuts that threaten patient access to quality surgical care, especially given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Surgeons and other health care professionals are facing a nearly 9% Medicare payment cut. The bipartisan letter signed by 246 U.S. representatives—a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives—outlines how these cuts will impact patient access to care and further impair the financial stability of our nation’s fragile health care system and calls for Congress to act once again to stop them from taking effect on January 1, 2022.

“As Congress considers a framework to ensure appropriate reimbursements and improve the Medicare payment system broadly, we must act before the end of the year to avert the imminent cuts, including extending the 3.75% payment adjustment, and provide continued stability for physicians and other health care professionals,” write Reps. Bera and Bucshon. “Otherwise, the profound exhaustion from the pandemic combined with the stress of uncertainty in payments may lead to further retirements, office closures, or reduced staffing, ultimately limiting patient access to care.”

In July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed a Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that reinstates a misguided 3.75% cut to several surgical specialties. This is on top of a 5% cut due to automatic federal spending cuts. The combined amount equals a nearly 9% Medicare cut to surgeons and other health care professionals.

“As the Delta variant overwhelms our hospitals, it’s critical to ensure we do not further strain our health care system and threaten access to the care Americans need,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, American College of Surgeons Executive Director. “Surgeons and their patients across the country commend the majority of U.S. House Representatives, led by Representatives Bera and Bucshon, for bringing their leadership’s attention to these harmful Medicare cuts and the need to protect patient care. We look forward to working with Congress to stop these cuts and on badly needed long-term reforms.”

The Surgical Care Coalition (SCC) represents more than 150,000 surgeons across the country and is advocating Congress to stop these harmful cuts to protect patients and ensure access to the care they deserve. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to cause patients to delay care, and health care systems across the country to be strained. For example, a recent study found that the number of those diagnosed with cancer fell significantly during the first year of the pandemic due to delayed care and screenings. Cuts to Medicare will weaken the system even further and jeopardize access to care for the most vulnerable.

 

About the Surgical Care Coalition

The Surgical Care Coalition advocates for access to quality surgical care for all Americans. The Surgical Care Coalition is comprised of 12 surgical professional associations that proudly represent more than 150,000 surgeons working across the country with a common goal of improving the quality of care, and quality of life, for all patients. The founding members have worked together for nearly three decades to promote sound policy solutions to the U.S. Congress and federal regulatory agencies to solve the biggest challenges in health care.