Infrastructure bill extends Medicare sequester, spares provider relief fund

Hospitals and physician groups successfully lobbied to exclude a clawback of billions in unspent provider relief funds as a financing source for the infrastructure bill, Bloomberg reported July 28.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., confirmed that the $43.7 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds were untouched in the $550 million infrastructure deal.

"Cases are going up," Mr. Wyden said of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. "I want to make sure this doesn’t impact our nursing homes and hospitals that are getting hit."

However, despite opposition from hospitals and healthcare providers, the infrastructure deal includes an extension to the Medicare sequester as a funding source.

A portion of the bill would be funded by continuing an automatic 2 percent annual Medicare payment cut for one year, according to the report. The 2 percent payment cuts are currently slated to run from fiscal year 2022 to 2030. They originally were slated to run from fiscal 2013 to 2021 but have been delayed or extended several times. 

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