Congress Trims Medicare Physician Payment Cut


March 12, 2024

Last week, Congress cleared a spending package that mitigates the 3.37 percent Medicare physician payment cut that took effect on January 1, 2024. The bill adds a 1.68 percent positive adjustment to physician fee schedule payments, reducing the cut, effective March 9, to 1.69 percent for the remainder of 2024.

Since early 2023, ACOI, alongside the entire physician community, has been calling on Congress to stop the entire cut. Over the past six months, ACOI members sent more than 750 messages to Congress asking for payment cut relief.

“I want to thank every ACOI member who responded to our calls to action,” said ACOI President Robert Hasty, DO, FACOI. “It is disappointing Congress did not act to eliminate the entire payment cut. When factoring inflation of 4.6 percent on top of a 1.69 percent cut, physician payments are not even scratching the surface of covering the increasing cost of care.”

Physicians must now prepare to fend off an anticipated payment cut in 2025 while, at the same time, advocating for fundamental reforms to the Medicare physician payment system, including ensuring appropriate annual inflationary updates and reforming budget neutrality requirements that can result in cuts to the conversation factor when pricing changes for existing services across the Medicare physician fee schedule increases total Medicare spending.

ACOI has endorsed a set of guiding principles for physician payment reform, which also includes restructuring of the Quality Payment Program and Merit-based Incentive Payment System in particular.

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