Senate passes moratorium to Medicare sequester cuts
The 2% cut to Medicare reimbursement is delayed through the end of the year, to the relief of hospital and physician groups.
March 26, 2021 / Susan Morse, Managing Editor
The Senate on Thursday passed H.R. 1868, a bill that will prevent the 2% Medicare sequester cuts that hospitals and physicians opposed.
The bill passed with an amendment added by Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, to delay the Medicare payment cuts through December 31 and ensure that the cost of the delay is paid for.
The bill as amended received overwhelming support in a 90-2 vote. It needed a 60 vote majority for approval and was up against an end-of-March deadline before hospitals and other providers received a 2% cut in their Medicare reimbursement.
The House, which passed H.R. 1868 last week, is expected to approve the amended bill when members return from the congressional recess in two weeks.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association both signaled their approval for preventing reimbursement cuts at a time when many providers are struggling financially to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“America’s hospitals and health systems thank the U.S. Senate for working in a bipartisan manner today to extend relief from pending Medicare cuts to doctors and hospitals that would have gone into effect in just a few days,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “More than a year into this pandemic, hospitals, health systems and our caregivers remain on the front lines in the fight against the virus by caring for patients and vaccinating communities. While vaccines give us great hope for the future, with over 85,000 new cases and nearly 1,500 deaths due to COVID-19 yesterday alone, according to Johns Hopkins, we are not out of the woods yet and it is in everyone’s interest to keep hospitals strong.”