Last Wednesday President Biden signed legislation temporarily halting cuts to Medicare providers that would likely have had a negative impact on seniors who rely on Medicare for their health care coverage.
The cuts are part of the Budget Control Act that was passed into law in 2011 and were supposed to have reduced the cost of Medicare by reducing payments made to doctors and other health care providers.
In March of 2020, Congress temporarily stopped the 2% Medicare cuts until the end of last year as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It extended them again until March 31.
However, this only delays the cuts until 2022 when they will again become part of a larger debate over federal spending. That means Congress will be faced with more than $36 billion in spending reductions to Medicare in 2022.
The original law mandating the cuts requires anything that adds to the federal deficit to be offset by spending reductions.
Although the cuts were to reduce the payments made to health care providers, TSCL believes it is foolish to believe they wouldn’t affect the health care received by the millions of seniors who are enrolled in Medicare. It could even mean that many doctors would refuse to see new Medicare patients, leading to a worse health care crisis for seniors, especially those who live in the less populated areas of the nation.
Simply delaying the cuts year after year is no solution to the long-term issues facing Medicare. Congress needs to address this as part of an effort to shore up the viability of Medicare for the future.
Fighting to fix both the long-term viability of both Medicare and Social Security are at the top of TSCL’s legislative agenda this year.