5 healthcare groups urge Congress to halt 2% Medicare sequester cut

Five major healthcare groups are urging Congress to further delay a 2 percent federally mandated Medicare payment cut.

The federal payment cut, created in 2011 by the Budget Control Act, is intended to cut federal spending by more than a trillion dollars by fiscal year 2021. The cuts target all industries, but Medicare spending specifically is subject to a cut of 2 percent annually. Congress initially delayed the 2 percent payment cut in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act through the end of 2020 and then extended the moratorium on the payment cut to March 31. 

The groups now are calling on Congress to pass legislation that will delay the cuts further.

The American Hospital Association, American Health Care Association, National Association for Home Care & Hospice, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Association for Clinical Oncology penned the March 11 letter. 

In the letter, the groups argue that the payment cut "would be devastating" to providers, who are still responding to the pandemic. 

"Our providers are working tirelessly to deliver the best care for patients, as well as to administer vaccinations, and we urge you to pass legislation to assist them by extending the moratorium on sequester cuts to Medicare providers," the letter reads. "This funding would allow for continued support of providers' COVID-19-related additional expenses due to activities such as purchasing supplies and equipment, standing up emergency testing centers and the construction and retrofitting of facilities."

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