Rush Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Cuts to Critical Services with Medicare Pay Cuts Looming (Washington, D.C.) — Friday, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) announced the introduction of the Medicare Stability for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 6048), new bipartisan legislation that would prevent looming Medicare reimbursement cuts of up to 20% for specialists providing treatment for cancer, kidney failure, artery disease, and other diseases. The bill would also require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study the impact on providers of previous changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and recommend longer-term reforms to the PFS.
“Specialty providers are facing cut after cut after cut, year after year after year, while CMS is busy counting pennies,” said Rush. “Moving forward with these misguided cuts will be detrimental to the Biden Administration’s stated goals of achieving health equity and will undoubtedly inflict disproportionate harm on minorities and other vulnerable patient groups. I have been fighting to stop these ill-conceived changes to the Physical Fee Schedule every single step of the way. I thank my colleague, Rep. Bilirakis, for joining me in this important legislation, our most recent effort to prevent these cuts from going into effect.”
Specifically, the legislation would block the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing a portion of the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) rule related to updating clinical labor data. Because the PFS is required to be budget-neutral, the changes will necessitate massive pay cuts to specialty providers, many of whom provide treatment for diseases that disproportionately affect Black and Latino patients. This will undermine health equity and force specialty providers to close, leading to even worse health impacts for many vulnerable groups. In September, Rush and Bilirakis led 73 other Members of Congress in letter urging CMS not to finalize the clinical labor portions of the rule.
The cuts that the new Rush–Bilirakis legislation seeks to halt would come on top of additional looming cuts for specialty providers to offset last year’s scheduled fee increase for Medicare office-based evaluation and management (E/M). Last year, Rep. Rush led multiple letters to House Leadership and to CMS emphasizing the importance of preventing these cuts in order to protect patients’ access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cuts were temporarily delayed in part due to Rush’s advocacy.
The full text of the Medicare Stability for Patients and Providers Act is available HERE.