• Congress Continues Efforts to Avert Medicare Sequestration Cuts

    The Senate and House are working on different proposals this week to extend the suspension of 2% sequestration cuts on Medicare, which resume April 1 if Congress doesn’t act.

    The Academy and partner medical societies continue to push for stable reimbursement for physicians. Last week, we joined 48 other groups (PDF) in urging House and Senate leaders to pass relief from both the current sequestration cuts scheduled for April 1 and an additional 4% Medicare sequestration cut that could be triggered in 2022.

    This week, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced S 748, the Medicare Sequester Relief Act. This bill is similar to the bipartisan-supported HR 315 that would extend the suspension of the 2% sequestration cut through the end of the public health emergency.

    We need your help to reach Congress and urge them to take action. Use the Academy’s online tool to ask your federal legislators to support S 748.

    Legislators in the House also introduced a separate bill on March 12, which provides an alternate legislative vehicle to HR 315 for addressing the sequestration cuts. HR 1868 would extend the current suspension of the 2% cut through the end of 2021.This legislation, however, also addresses new sequestration cuts — an additional 4% cut to Medicare payments that the recently enacted COVID-19 relief bill could trigger. These additional cuts could take effect January 2022 if Congress does not act.  

    The House is expected to consider HR 1868 later this week, but the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Because the additional sequestration cuts would not be triggered until January 2022, some senators believe Congress should consider these possible sequestration cuts later in the year.

    Lawmakers hope to address the 2% sequestration cuts before the two-week recess that starts at the end of this month but may have to pass a retroactive solution.

    You can play an important role in amplifying our message. More than 200 of your colleagues have already contacted Congress about this issue, but we need your help to reach as much of the Senate and House as possible. To date, ophthalmologists have contacted the majority of senators (76, as of March 15), but less than half of the House (176 representatives).

    With our online advocacy tool, it takes only a few minutes to contact your federal legislators.

    Academy physician members can meet with members of Congress and their staff to advocate for our patients and profession during our second Virtual Congressional Advocacy Day on May 5. Register todayYou can also learn more about the Academy’s efforts to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic at Mid-Year Forum 2021. Registration is open to attend the free virtual meeting, April 23-24.