Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Congressman David McKinley (WV-01) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to prevent cuts to hospital payments through the duration of the COVID public health emergency.
H.R. 315, the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act would delay the Medicare sequester through the duration of the public health emergency, ensuring that providers can stay focused on treating and eradicating COVID-19 instead of worrying about their bottom line. 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 the Medicare sequester through April 1, 2021, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. 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. Our providers need the reassurance that they will face not unnecessary cuts until the pandemic has completely subsided.
"COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country. The dramatic growth in cases nationwide 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. Reinstating across the board cuts to our providers now would create unnecessary burdens at the worst possible time," said Congressman Brad Schneider.
"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 Congressman David 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."
The bill has also received support from the following organizations: American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, American Medical Association, Illinois Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Physical Therapy Association, American Academy of Dermatology Association, and the American Optometric Association.