A Message to Congress: Quit Threatening Doctors with Medicare Cuts!
Clarence W. Brown Jr., MD, JD
September 22, 2022
Reform Medicare’s payment system now
It’s getting to be an annual tradition: Physicians are threatened with Medicare payment cuts. And so it is again. The next slashing of reimbursements is scheduled to hit on Jan. 1, 2023. Now add the current inflation rate of 8.3% and the nearly 50% increase in the consumer price index during the past two decades while doctors’ compensation has increased at a fraction of the CPI. All of this combined represents a dramatic reduction in physician earnings, which in turn will harm access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.
Lawmakers say they want to provide medical care for older and disabled Americans, but don’t seem to acknowledge that doctors are the key to this endeavor. Instead of properly funding Medicare, they place budget shortfalls on the backs of those who provide the medical care.
For the doctors who have been around since the days of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, you know all too well about these annual traditions that threaten to slash doctors’ pay. Well those days are back. Last year, physicians faced a devastating combination of Medicare payment cuts that would have amounted to a whopping 9.75%! This setback was temporarily averted due to rigorous advocacy by the medical community.
Congress must act to stop this annual “payment cut tradition” and fix Medicare once and for all! ISMS has endorsed AMA’s set of principles to guide advocacy efforts on Medicare physician payment reform.
In the meantime, congressional lawmakers must not allow for the 2023 scheduled cuts to take effect!
The temporary 3% increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) conversion factor can be extended. This increase, which was enacted by Congress, would evade payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments.
Lawmakers can also replace the scheduled and anticipated cuts in payments with positive, inflation-based updates for at least the next two years to buy some time while innovative models are developed and implemented.
We must protect our older and disabled patients.
Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to cancel the 2023 Medicare cuts!
Send an email to your members of Congress right away.
I'd like to hear from you! You can contact me by email.
ISMS President Clarence W. Brown Jr., MD, JD