The following statement is attributable to:
Gerald E. Harmon, M.D.
President, American Medical Association
“The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly disagrees with the MedPAC’s recommendation today to continue the freeze in Medicare physician fee payments, a decision that imperils patient access to high-quality care as the costs to practice medicine continue to rise. AMA research (PDF) shows that, when adjusted for inflation in practice costs, Medicare physician payment has declined 20 percent from 2001 to 2020. The discrepancy between what it costs to run a practice and payment is sparking consolidation and driving physicians out of rural and underserved areas. In addition to being asked to do more with fewer resources each year, physicians continue to face significant clinical and financial disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, there was a $13.9 billion decrease in Medicare physician fee schedule spending as patients delayed treatments. Burnout, stress, workload, and fear of COVID-19 infection are leading one in five physicians to consider leaving their current practice within two years. MedPAC’s analysis of payment adequacy relies on trailing indicators and does not account for these canaries in the coal mine. The AMA greatly appreciates that Congress averted nearly 10 percent cut to physician payment in 2022 and provided financial relief throughout the pandemic; however, a stable, annual physician payment update is necessary to keep pace with rising inflation and innovation in physician practices and to ensure all Medicare patients continue to have access to the care they need when they need it.”
ph: (202) 789-7442
About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.