March 27, 2021
Senate Advances ASA-Supported Legislation to Delay Medicare Payment Cuts
Update (3/30) – On March 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed that Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) hold all claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2021 in anticipation of Congress suspending the impending Medicare payment cuts upon its return in April. Read more here.
On Thursday, March 25, the Senate extended a moratorium on the across the board sequester Medicare payment cuts by a vote of 90-2. The legislation, HR 1868, delays impending Medicare cuts scheduled to take effect April 1 until December 31, 2021. While ASA applauds the Senate for their action to support physician practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, ASA remains concerned about the prospects of future cuts and the further undermining of payments for physicians treating Medicare beneficiaries.
Last year, Congress took action to delay the sequester and a 2% Medicare payment cuts through March 31, 2021. ASA has worked to advance legislation to avoid these payment cuts through grassroots activation of membership and lobbying efforts.
Since the Senate-passed version is not identical to the House-passed version of HR 1868 that advanced last week, the House must go back to vote on the Senate bill. The House is currently out on recess until April 13. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has indicated that they will hold claims received April 1 if the House hasn’t acted yet on the Senate legislation .
Additional Medicare payment cuts of 4% were also triggered from the American Rescue Plan’s deficit spending. To offset the spending, across the board cuts called “pay-go” would take effect January 1, 2022. These cuts would be extremely harmful to physician practices, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Unfortunately, the “pay-go” cuts were not addressed by the Senate legislation but are expected to be addressed separately later in the year.
ASA applauds lawmakers who supported this legislation, and will continue to work to avoid the future Medicare payment cuts.