WASHINGTON – The Surgical Care Coalition and over 100 medical organizations representing more than one million physicians and other health care professionals are joining together to urge Congress to take immediate action to protect America’s seniors by stopping proposed cuts to Medicare for calendar year 2023.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a nearly 4.5% cut to the Medicare conversion factor, a key element for calculating Medicare payments. When combined with the pending 4% Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) cut, surgical care faces a nearly 8.5% cut next year. These looming cuts, which come after the 2% sequestration cut that was fully reinstated in July, represent a significant threat to the millions of seniors nationwide who rely on the Medicare program to access timely, high-quality care.
As a result, more than one million physicians and other health care professionals urge Congress to implement at least a 4.5% adjustment to the Medicare conversion factor, waive the 4% statutory PAYGO requirement and provide a one-year inflationary update based on the Medicare Economic Index. These efforts will provide the Medicare system with short-term fiscal stability and lay the groundwork for long-term payment reforms, the letter states.
“The Surgical Care Coalition and broader community of health care professionals are fighting against these cuts and the continued disinvestment in patient care that jeopardizes patients’ access to critical procedures,” said Patricia Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, American College of Surgeons Executive Director. “While short-term intervention is clearly needed, it is vital we also identify and advance necessary reforms that create a more robust and reliable Medicare payment system in the long-term.”
The letter further argues that the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule’s (MPFS) budget neutrality requirement, coupled with the lack of an annual inflationary update, are serious systemic issues that encourage arbitrary cuts to select forms of care. Rather than promoting an ecosystem that provides the best possible care solutions to patients, CMS continues to introduce cuts that disincentivize collaboration between physicians as they are pitted against each other for critical resources.
Doug Rhee, MD, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery President added, “When adjusted for inflation, the value of Medicare payments has declined by 28% over the past 20 years, while the cost of running a medical practice has increased exponentially. As medical costs reach record highs, the proposed cuts reflect an unsustainable Medicare payment system that is out-of-touch with the needs of millions of Americans. Congress must work urgently to stop these cuts and reform the outdated MPFS system.”
The Surgical Care Coalition is committed to developing and promoting policy solutions that would address these risks and help ensure our nation’s seniors maintain access to the high-quality care they deserve.
Read the full letter here.
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 14 professional associations that proudly represent the more than 180,000 surgeons and anesthesiologists working across the country with a common goal of improving the quality of care, and quality of life, for all patients.