Congress floats lower Medicare physician fee cuts: 4 notes

Physicians are set to receive a 1.7% increase in Medicare pay effective March 9 as part of a $460 billion spending package congressional leaders released this weekend.  

Four things to know:

1. The spending deal would temporarily lower the 3.4% Medicare physician fee cut, which took effect in January, to about 1.7%, according to Bloomberg Law. This rate would remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2025. 

2. The American Medical Association strongly opposed the initial cuts, arguing that they would reduce patient access to care and jeopardize physician practices, many of which are still working to improve their financial standing after the pandemic. 

3. Lawmakers unveiled the six-bill spending package March 3. The House and Senate must approve the legislation before a March 8 funding deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, according to The Washington Post.

4. The bills will keep six agencies funded through the rest of the fiscal year. Lawmakers still face a March 22 deadline to finalize a second set of funding bills. 

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