House bill aims to get rid of 2023 Medicare cuts to physicians

New legislation introduced in the House aims to avert an incoming 4.5% cut to Medicare physician payments set to go into effect next year. 

The Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022 takes aim at a 4.5% cut to payments that was included in the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule payment rule. Physician groups have clamored that the planned cuts are going to detrimentally affect practices, especially considering record inflation and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. 

The legislation, led by Reps. Larry Bucshon, M.D., R-Indiana, and Ami Bera, M.D., D-California, would increase the conversion factor Medicare uses to calculate payments to physicians by 4.42%. The goal is to avert a similar cut to the conversion factor in the fee schedule, which is required to keep all payments budget neutral. 

The Surgical Care Coalition, a collection of specialty physician groups, applauded the legislation in a statement. 

“This legislation is a critical step in helping patients,” the group said. 

It also wants lawmakers to “support solutions to stop the pending 4% PAYGO cut and address the stagnant payment that has failed to keep pace with inflation for years to further stabilize the Medicare system and ensure patients have access to the high-quality care they deserve,” the statement said. 

The PAYGO law mandates cuts if government spending reaches a certain threshold, with the 4% cut set to go into effect next year. PAYGO cuts have largely been delayed by Congress and not taken effect. 

Providers are pressing Congress to delay or fix several other payment issues before the session ends after this year. Groups are hoping lawmakers will not only delay the PAYGO cuts but also continue a 5% bonus for physicians that participate in alternative payment models.