Delay Upcoming Medicare Cut, TMA Tells Congress
By Joey Berlin

With just days remaining until the latest Medicare physician pay cut takes effect, the Texas Medical Association has been lobbying for an eleventh-hour act of Congress to stop it.

In a March 17 letter to all Texas members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, TMA urged Congress to delay the 1% reduction, which is scheduled to take effect April 1 and would last through June 30. Then, on July 1, an additional, permanent 2% cut would go into effect.

That 2% reduction represents the Medicare sequester, which TMA advocacy helped stave off in December 2021 as part of a grassroots effort that stopped nearly the entirety of what would have been a 9.75% cut in 2022.

The sequester has been delayed several times both before and during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). In its latest letter, TMA requested that Congress once again delay that payment reduction – the whole 2% – until at least the end of the PHE, given that “financial margins of physician practices remain lean.”

In addition, resuming Medicare sequester cuts on April 1 “will needlessly threaten Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care,” wrote TMA President E. Linda Villarreal, MD. She also expressed TMA’s alarm with “the growing instability of the Medicare physician payment system” and urged Congress to establish a reliable, annual physician payment update that keeps up with practice costs and inflation.

Correction: This story has been updated to state that the 2% cut taking effect on July 1 would be in addition to the 1% cut that was scheduled to take effect April 1.

Last Updated On

April 08, 2022

Originally Published On

March 29, 2022

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Joey Berlin

Managing Editor

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Joey Berlin is managing editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area. He lives in Austin.

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