The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and nearly 120 other national physician specialty societies and state medical associations, commend a bipartisan group of physician members of Congress who recently introduced the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 2474) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would allow Medicare physicians to receive inflationary reimbursement updates, based on the Medicare Economic Index (MEI), similar to those other health care providers receive.
The legislation, introduced by Representatives Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.); Raul Ruiz, MD (D-Calif.); Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-IA); and Ami Bera, MD (D-Calif.), would be an important step toward stable reimbursement for physician practices and access to equitable, high-quality cancer care for Medicare beneficiaries.
Physicians are the only Medicare providers whose reimbursement does not receive an automatic annual update to keep pace with inflation. As a result, Medicare physician payments have lagged 26% behind the rate of inflation growth since 2001. The current period of record inflation, coupled with the disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, only amplify the unsustainable Medicare physician payment system and the threats to patient access to care.
Please ask your lawmakers to support the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act.
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