Advocacy Update

March 8, 2024: Medicare Payment Reform Advocacy Update


The House of Representatives voted 339-85 on March 6 to pass the first tranche of spending bills for fiscal year 2024, along with the attached “skinny” package of health care provisions.

Haven't subscribed?

Stay current on the latest on the issues impacting physicians, patients and the health care environment with the AMA’s Advocacy Update newsletter.

The Senate is expected to pass this appropriations package on March 8 with President Biden signing it into law soon after to avert a partial government shutdown.

The health package, significantly pared back from initial legislative proposals, includes a reduction by about half—1.68% —of the 3.37% across-the-board Medicare physician pay cut that took effect on Jan. 1. The new pay rate will start on March 9.

Other health-related policies addressed in the legislation include: 

  • Extension of the work geographic practice cost index (GPCI) floor through Dec. 31, 2024. 
  • Extension of incentive payments for participation in eligible alternative payment models at a reduced rate of 1.88%. 
  • Prohibition of termination of Medicaid enrollment due to incarceration. 
  • Elimination of certain disproportionate share hospital payment cuts. 
  • Extension of funding for teaching health center graduate medical education programs, the National Health Service Corps, and Community Health Centers, through Dec. 31. 
  • Requirement for state Medicaid plans to provide coverage for medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. 

The AMA issued a statement expressing extreme disappointment that about half of the 2024 Medicare physician payment cuts will be allowed to continue.  

There were many opportunities and widespread support to block the 3.37% Medicare cuts for physician services that took place Jan. 1, but in the end Congress opted to reverse only 1.68% of the 3.37% payment reduction required by the Medicare Fee Schedule.  

The need to stop the annual cycle of pay cuts and patches and enact permanent Medicare payment reforms could not be more clear. Failure to reverse these cuts will impact access to high quality care and physicians will find it more difficult to accept new Medicare patients. Physicians are the only Medicare providers who do not receive automatic inflation updates to their Medicare payments, and they are the only group experiencing a payment cut this year despite high inflation.  

The AMA will continue to work with Congress and the administration to build on the strong bipartisan support in Congress for a proposal that will put an end to the annual cycle of Medicare cuts that threaten seniors’ access to care. 

Your Powerful Ally

The AMA helps physicians build a better future for medicine, advocating in the courts and on the Hill to remove obstacles to patient care and confront today’s greatest health crises.