MedPAC recommends physician pay freeze

Patsy Newitt -

MedPAC voted Jan. 13 against recommending to raise Medicare physician payments for 2023, according to an opposition letter from the president of American Medical Association, Gerald Harmon, MD. 

Since 2001, the cost of running a medical practice has increased 39 percent, but CMS has only increased pay for physicians by 11 percent, according to the AMA. When adjusted for inflation in practice costs, Medicare physician payment has declined 20 percent from 2001 to 2020. 

Congress delayed the plans to cut physician pay by 9 percent through 2022, but the temporary relief is expected to go away by 2023. 

"The discrepancy between what it costs to run a practice and payment is sparking consolidation and driving physicians out of rural and underserved areas," Dr. Harmon wrote. 

Additionally, in 2020, there was a $13.9 billion decrease in Medicare physician fee schedule spending as patients delayed treatments, Dr. Harmon wrote.

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