CMS physician pay down 22% from 2001-2022; providers urge Congress to fix 'broken' system

Congress' $1.7 trillion omnibus package, passed in December, kept a 2 percent Medicare reimbursement cut to physicians in 2023, and 2024 may bring at least another 1.25 percent cut.

Physician groups continue to lobby against further Medicare reimbursement cuts while inflation and the cost of running a practice continue to rise. 

Adjusted for inflation in practice costs, Medicare physician payment declined 22 percent from 2001 to 2022, according to the American Medical Association. In addition, as commercial payers typically base their reimbursement rates on Medicare rates, their physician payments have also declined over this period, though it is unclear by how much since that information is not publicly available and varies from insurer to insurer. 

"These year-over-year cuts, combined with a paucity of available alternative payment/value-based care models, clearly demonstrate that the Medicare payment system is broken," more than 100 organizations representing physicians wrote in a Jan. 23 letter to Congress. "These systemic issues will continue to generate significant instability for healthcare professionals moving forward, threatening patients' timely access to essential healthcare services."

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