McKinley, Schneider Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Cuts to Hospital Payments During COVID-19
U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va) and Brad Schneider (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent cuts to hospital payments through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act delays Medicare reimbursement cuts through the duration of the public health emergency, ensuring that cash strapped providers can stay focused on fighting COVID-19 instead of worrying about financial hardships.
"At a time when health care workers are on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress should be doing everything within their power to ease their burden," said Rep. McKinley. "America's health care providers continue to be stretched thin and face serious financial challenges as a result of the economic and public health crisis. Suspending Medicare reimbursement cuts will allow hospitals and doctors to keep their doors open and continue providing critical care to their patients."
"COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country. The dramatic growth in cases across the country means continued stress on our frontline health providers. Our hospitals are reporting devastating staffing shortages, overloaded ICUs, and diminishing supplies of personal protective equipment. Our health care professionals report growing burnout and hospitals are experiencing decreased revenue as more are forced to stop elective procedures. Now is not the time to reinstitute across the board cuts to our providers" said Congressman Brad Schneider.
Since 2011, Medicare payments have been subject to a 2% reduction, known as the Medicare sequester. However, recognizing our providers' heroic work and dire circumstances, Congress delayed these cuts through December 31, 2020 in the CARES Act, which became law in April.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has not waned, and our providers now again face revenue cuts when hospital operating margins are down an estimated 18.7%, according to the American Hospital Association.
Since the COVID19 pandemic hit, Congressman McKinley has been an advocate for West Virginia hospitals.
In October, he led a bipartisan letter to HHS Secretary Azar expressing concerns over the Provider Relief Fund requirements to ensure hospitals have the ability to keep their doors open during the pandemic.
In July, he co-sponsored the Saving Rural Hospitals from Closure Act, which will help hospitals struggling for survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would forgive repayments, extend the timeline of repayments, and lower the interest rate of Medicare Advanced Payments (MAP) made during the pandemic.
The Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act has received support from the following organizations: American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, American Medical Association, America's Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, Illinois Hospital Association, American Physical Therapy Association, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Large Urology Group Practice Association, Digestive Health Physicians Association, Infusion Providers Alliance, LeadingAge, Visiting Nurse Associations of America/ElevatingHOME, and American Academy of Dermatology Association.