November 14, 2020
ASA Joins Coalition in Applauding Congressional Legislation to Prevent Medicare Cuts
On Tuesday, November 11, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) joined a coalition of health provider groups and medical organizations in applauding the introduction of HR 8702, a bill that would offset January 1, 2021 cuts to Medicare payment rates for physician anesthesiologists, among other specialties. The letter was sent to Congressman Ami Bera, MD, Congressman Larry Bucshon, Congressman Brendan Boyle, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, Congressman George Holding, Congressman Roger Marshall, MD, Congressman Phil Roe, MD and Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD and was signed by more than 70 organizations.
As proposed, Medicare payments for many medical specialties would be cut significantly in the new year. The Medicare anesthesia conversion factors would be cut by 10%, which will harm practices already suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ASA previously endorsed HR 8702, which would temporarily offer payments to mitigate the pay cuts in the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, ensuring a payment level that is at least equal to 2020 rates.
In the letter, the organization state: “This critical legislation recognizes the importance of allowing significant scheduled pay increases to primary care and others who primarily provide E/M services to take effect while also avoiding the devastating corresponding cuts for physician and non-physician providers that will occur because of Medicare’s budget neutrality requirements. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to halt the implementation of any payment reductions that could inadvertently limit patient access to care as well as further exacerbate the financial instability of health care provider practices. Our organizations support H.R. 8702 and its approach for providing two years of much-needed stability for Medicare providers as they continue to strive to meet the needs of patients during this public health emergency.”
ASA remains deeply concerned about the proposed cuts, which could destabilize health system financing, and drastically diminish the opportunity physician practices to recover financially from COVID-19. As Medicare payment already undervalues anesthesia care, anesthesia practices will suffer even more. ASA will continue to strongly promote this legislation and encourage additional lawmakers to join as cosponsors.
Read the letter
Send a message to your lawmaker asking them to cosponsor HR 8702