Burgess bill aims to protect health care providers from payment cuts

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) recently sponsored legislation that would provide financial relief to overburdened health care providers and physicians facing looming Medicare payment cuts.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, our health system has been under enormous pressure due to the financial instability of provider practices and the shortage of healthcare professionals on the front lines,” the congressman said.

The bipartisan bill, H.R. 5612, introduced by Rep. Burgess and cosponsor U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) earlier this month, would amend the Social Security Act to provide for a one-year waiver of budget neutrality adjustments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, according to the text of the bill.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is statutorily required to offset payment increases made for services by reducing payments to other services, as directed by the budget neutrality requirements of the Physician Fee Schedule, according to Rep. Burgess’ office. As a result, CMS will implement new Medicare payment policies that will result in cuts of up to 25 percent for some specialties, such as physical therapy.

“We must take action to halt any looming payment cuts that will further exacerbate these pressures. Congress has a responsibility to ensure our health care heroes are receiving the compensation they deserve while they continue to provide the best care to Medicare beneficiaries,” Rep. Burgess said on Oct. 20.

Rep. Rush said broader reforms are needed to the Physician Fee Schedule.

“These massive and misguided pay cuts will cause direct harm to countless clinicians and patients, particularly those in underserved communities,” Rep. Rush said. “I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to delay and mitigate the harmful impacts of these cuts, and I thank my colleague Rep. Burgess for introducing this legislation to that effect.”