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Lawmakers Reach Bipartisan Deal To Extend Government Funding at Current Levels

Dec 03, 2021

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal on Thursday that would extend government funding at current levels through Feb. 18, with very few extra provisions added on. They chose not to stop cuts, some of which are set to take effect Dec. 31, that could reduce Medicare pay by 6% for hospitals and other healthcare providers, including EMS,  and as much as 10% for physicians.

Providers are facing nearly 10% in payment cuts stemming from Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) adjustments as well as the Medicare sequester and the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Act.

  • 2% Medicare sequester (included as pay-for in hard infrastructure bill)
  • 4% PAYGO cut – tied to past budget agreements, usually waived (bipartisan) but being used as leverage now just like the debt limit – applies across fed gov funding – except Medicaid
  • Nearly 4% physician fee schedule cuts will hit especially hard on specialty physicians like surgeons.

Congress could still choose to avert the cuts, but it would take a rare bipartisan effort to pass a standalone measure during a frenzied end-of-year legislative sprint. Lawmakers did something similar last year on one of these exact Medicare issues but not until March.

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