House passes bill to avert looming Medicare cuts

The House passed a bill Dec. 7 to prevent billions in automatic cuts to Medicare from taking effect Jan. 1. 

The bill halts a mandatory 2 percent Medicare spending sequester until April 2022 and stops a 4 percent statutory pay-as-you-go sequester. Both sequesters are meant to limit federal spending.

The bill also reduces the mandatory Medicare sequester to 1 percent from April through June of 2022 and includes a 3 percent increase in pay for providers in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

Hospital groups, including the American Hospital Association, have been pushing Congress to avert the cuts, saying that without legislative action, Medicare fee-for-service payments could be reduced by $14.1 billion in 2022.

"The AHA is pleased that the House has recognized that now is not the time to make cuts to hospitals and physicians under the Medicare program," the association said in a statement emailed to Becker's. "We will continue to work with Congress to ensure that providers and the patients they care for are not under continued duress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic when that cut is scheduled to take effect."

The House approved the bill on a 222-212 vote. It now heads to the Senate. 

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