On Dec. 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to avert pending year-end Medicare cuts to hospitals.
The legislation, which passed the House on a mostly party-line 222-212 vote, would delay the scheduled 2% Medicare sequester cuts until April 1, 2022. Starting April 1, there would be a 1% cut (instead of a 2% cut) until June 30 when the full 2% cuts would resume.
Additionally, the legislation would prevent the 4% statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) sequester from taking effect next year. PAYGO requires, among other things, that mandatory spending and revenue legislation not increase the federal budget deficit over a 5- or 10-year period; otherwise, across-the-board cuts are triggered. Congress has traditionally voted to waive PAYGO and prevent these cuts from taking effect since PAYGO has been enacted.
Lastly, the bill would mitigate the 3.75% cuts from the Physician Fee Schedule set to take effect next year by providing a 3% bump, while also delaying until 2023 scheduled cuts to clinical laboratory and radiation oncology reimbursements.
WHA has been relaying concerns over the pending cuts to federal lawmakers as the end of the year has approached, and strongly urged Wisconsin's congressional delegation to support this legislation when it was introduced this week. WHA noted, in particular, that with recent dire hospital capacity challenges and exponential increases in staffing costs, "these scheduled cuts would be a gut punch to hospitals that are in one of the most challenging stages of this seemingly endless pandemic."
The legislation now goes to the Senate, where leaders have signaled they believe they have the votes to pass it.
Contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter with questions.