Washington E-Newsletter

Congress Passes Legislation Partially Reversing 3.37% Medicare Pay Cut


Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 (H.R. 4366), partially reversing the 3.37% Medicare physician payment cut that went into effect on Jan. 1. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed the bill into law. The legislation reduces the cut by half, providing a 1.68% increase in current payment levels. The new payment rate took effect on March 9 and will continue through 2024.

The legislation also extended incentive payments for physicians participating in certain advanced alternative payment models, providing eligible participants with an additional 1.88% bonus payment. In a statement to MedPage Today, Katie O. Orrico, Esq., American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) senior vice president for health policy and advocacy, stated:

When coupled with medical inflation and ongoing sequestration cuts, physicians are now experiencing a staggering 10% Medicare payment cut in 2024. While we appreciate the additional resources Congress is providing, it is a drop in the ocean of need. This discrepancy highlights the unique and untenable position of physicians, who are the only Medicare providers without an inflationary-based payment update, emphasizing the critical necessity for long-term payment reform that genuinely reflects the economic realities faced by physicians who are the foundation of patient care in our health care system.”

Subsequently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated its website to reflect the new Medicare Physician Payment Schedule conversion factor. The 2024 conversion factor for Jan. 1 through March 8 was $32.74. The updated conversion factor for the remainder of the year is $33.2875.

Neurosurgeons are encouraged to go to the AANS/CNS Advocacy Action Center and urge your representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 2474, the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act. This legislation would provide physicians with an annual Medicare physician payment update based on the Medicare economic index.

Click here to send a letter to your elected officials.