Late last year, physician advocates from across the country united to successfully persuade Congress to delay a “perfect storm” of Medicare payment cuts that, if enacted, would have severely impeded patient access to care.

Unfortunately, if Congress does not act by the end of the year, these delayed cuts—and some new ones—will take effect in 2023 and cause serious disruption to physician practices.

It’s clear that Congress must work with the physician community to develop long-term solutions to the systemic problems with the Medicare physician payment system and preserve patient access by passing legislation. In the meantime, policymakers need to address the immediate problem.

Before the end of the year, the American Medical Association is asking Congress to:

• Extend the congressionally enacted 3% temporary increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule.
• Provide relief for an additional 1.5% budget neutrality cut that is planned for 2023.
• End the statutory annual freeze and provide an inflation-based update for the coming year.
• Waive the 4% PAYGO sequester necessitated by passage of legislation unrelated to Medicare.

Members of Congress have headed home for their August district work period where they will meet with—and listen to—their constituents. This is a perfect opportunity for physicians to contact their congressional representatives and urge action on the above Medicare reforms when they reconvene. Contact your members of Congress to let them know the Medicare physician payment system needs reform to become a more sustainable, value-based system that better meets the needs of patients and physicians.

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