U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of 46 signatories on a bipartisan letter calling for leadership to price hikes for Medicare recipients next year.

Reimbursements for doctors who see Medicare patients are set to be cut by up to 8.5% starting next year.
Doctors warn cuts will prevent seniors from getting vital health services.
A bipartisan group of congresspeople wrote a letter to congressional leadership asking them to intervene.

New changes are set to come to Medicare next year. They will likely make expenses tighter for doctors, and put vital healthcare out of reach for some older patients. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, announced several policy changes in early November that will come into effect at the beginning of next year.

Among them are Medicare cuts to doctors through the Physician Fee Schedule, which is used to determine which services doctors are reimbursed for, and how much they get. Medicare reimbursement will decrease by about 4.5%, and surgical care will face a nearly 8.5% cut.

“It’s affecting how doctors can run their businesses,” Christian Shalgain, Director of Advocacy and Health Policy at the American College of Surgeons, told Insider. “I’ve talked to doctors who are saying, ‘I have to decide whether to hire a new person or buy a new piece of equipment.’ That’s a significant problem from a patient’s perspective.” 

If healthcare providers get less money through Medicare, they won’t be able to hire as many nurses, doctors, and other staff, as well as fund necessary equipment for services. It affects the quality of care patients are able to get, and can even impact how many Medicare patients a healthcare provider can take on, Shalgain said.

In years past, Congress has been able to postpone these preplanned cuts until the next year, varyingly achieving full scraps of the plan, or reduced cuts. Doctors’ groups lobby annually for Congress to intervene, because they say that it stretches their budgets thin, which is especially a problem given that hospitals are already strained from COVID and healthcare costs are skyrocketing. 

Democrats will likely lose control of the House during this year’s midterms even as the remaining races remain too close to call. However, they did retain control of the Senate, in a surprising rebuke of the GOP platform. Republicans have signaled an inclination to push for Medicare cuts in general, …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

Doctors explain why pending ‘ominous’ cuts to Medicare would limit healthcare for seniors in the new year

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