This week, the AMA and nearly 120 national physician specialty societies and state medical associations sent a letter (PDF) commending Reps. Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA), Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-IA), for introducing H.R. 2474, the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act. This bipartisan legislation, which would tie annual Medicare physician fee schedule updates to the Medicare Economic Index (MEI), advances the ongoing need to provide financial stability to physician practices in order to preserve access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.
Providing an annual inflation update equal to the MEI for Medicare physician payments is essential to enabling physician practices to better absorb payment distributions triggered by budget neutrality rules, performance adjustments and periods of high inflation. It will also help physicians invest in their practices and implement new strategies to provide high-value care.
The annual “stop the Medicare payment cut” exercises are due, in no small part, to the fact that physician services do not receive the annual inflationary update that virtually all other Medicare providers can rely on to better weather periods of fiscal uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic further illustrated the challenges physicians endure due to the current broken Medicare payment system. While the temporary and partial patches that Congress has provided through 2024 were necessary under the current payment system, they are a distraction, exacerbate budgeting challenges for practices, and divert resources that both medicine and Congress could be spending on other meaningful health care policies and innovations. Therefore, organized medicine is united in support of a long-term payment solution that centers on annual inflationary updates.
Contact your members of Congress
Please take a moment to contact your legislators and urge them to help fix the flawed Medicare physician payment system by supporting H.R. 2474 today. In addition, use the following charts in conversation with members of Congress to let them know the Medicare physician payment system needs reform to become a more sustainable, value-based system that better meets the needs of patients and physicians:
- Medicare provider updates for 2023 (PDF)
- Medicare updates compared to inflation (with comparison) (PDF)
- Medicare updates compared to inflation (without comparison) (PDF)
- Key measures of practice expense in the Medicare Economic Index (PDF)
- Medicare spending per enrollee (PDF)
- Real (inflation-adjusted) Medicare physician spending per enrollee (PDF)