Now that the House of Representatives has voted (222-212) in favor of providing relief from pending Medicare cuts, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) strongly urges the Senate to pass similar legislation as soon as possible.  

The House bill would delay two percent cuts to Medicare rates through March 2022 and postpone a separate round of four percent Medicare cuts totaling about $36 billion to 2023. The bill would keep that pause in place until April 1, 2022, after which providers would see a one percent cut until June 30, 2022, and a two percent cut until the budget sequestration expires in 2031. The anticipated four percent Medicare cut, the consequence of the PAYGO budget law that requires increases in the deficit to be offset by raising revenue or reducing spending would also be postponed. The COVID-19 relief package enacted this year resulted in a larger budget deficit, triggering spending reductions. Bottom of Form 

The bill also includes a three percent increase in pay for providers paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Last year Congress stepped in to avert the same cuts with a 3.75 percent increase for all doctors. 

Heart disease continues to be the nation’s leading cause of death for men and women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. We believe Congress should prioritize support for the nation’s sick and most vulnerable patients, as well as the courageous health care providers including physicians and interventional cardiologists, who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“While the bill falls short of what interventional cardiologists and other physicians have advocated, we are relieved that Congress is taking steps to avoid tens of millions of dollars in reimbursement reductions slated to take effect on January 1, 2022,” said SCAI President Timothy D. Henry, MD, MSCAI. “SCAI is pleased that the House has recognized that now is not the time to cut payments under the Medicare program. Cutting off support to the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 is unthinkable. Now at least they will not face additional imminent financial injury as they continue to care for their patients and communities.” 

The Society strongly urges Congressional leaders to extend the moratorium on Medicare sequester cuts, prevent the pay-as-you-go reductions and abandon plans to allow CMS to update Medicare’s labor index in the physician fee schedule. Allowing these cuts to go into effect will result in additional chaos and disruption in the health care system and could lead to delays in patient care. 

“We appreciate the bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress are working to avert most of these cuts, and SCAI is grateful for their efforts,” Dr. Henry continued. “We urge Congressional leadership to build off the bipartisan support and continued access to care for Medicare patients by taking urgent steps to stop Medicare cuts now!” 

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