Bill Introduced that Would Extend Moratorium on 2% Medicare Sequester Cuts

Bill Introduced that Would Extend Moratorium on 2% Medicare Sequester Cuts Through End of 2021, Make Other Health Care Changes

March 12, 2021

Urge your lawmakers to support bill; register to participate in March 16 AHA Advocacy Virtual Event

Reps. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., Richard Neal, D-Mass., Frank Pallone, D-N.J. and David Scott, D-Ga., today introduced a bill that, among other health care provisions, would eliminate the 2% across-the-board cut to all Medicare payments, known as sequestration, until the end of 2021.

Congress in legislation enacted last year paused the cuts, but they are expected to resume April 1 without additional congressional action.

It also excludes the budgetary effects of this bill, as well as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, from the scorecards established by the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Act of 2010, preventing across-the-board cuts to numerous direct spending programs, including Medicare. Without this action, additional sequester cuts will be triggered at the end of this session of Congress.

In addition to the Medicare sequester relief, the bill would make several technical changes to the rural health clinic (RHC) provisions that were including in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Namely, the CAA required that the payment rate for RHCs, including provider-based RHCs, certified after Dec. 31, 2019, be capped at $100 per visit, beginning on April 1, 2021. This rate will increase over time based on the Medicare Economic Index, but will remain well below typical provider-based RHC rates.

Today’s legislation would correct the Dec. 31, 2019 certification date to instead by a Dec. 31, 2020, date, by which time an RHC would have needed to submit an application for Medicare enrollment.

The bill could be considered on the House floor as soon as next week in the hopes of getting it enacted before the Easter congressional recess that is scheduled to begin March 29. It would not be subject to reconciliation and would need 60 votes to pass in the Senate so bipartisan support is crucial.

Please contact your representatives today and urge them to support the legislation. In addition, please contact your senators and urge them to support similar legislation in the Senate. See our March 9 Action Alert for more details and resources you can use in conversations with your lawmakers.

In addition, the AHA Tuesday, March 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET will host an all-member advocacy virtual event in which AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack, Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy Tom Nickels, and Executive Vice President-designate Stacey Hughes will provide an update on the legislation and our advocacy efforts.

Register for the March 16 event by clicking here. This event is for AHA members only, and you must register in order to participate. In addition, the registration page is not compatible with Internet Explorer so please use another browser to register for the event.

If you have questions, please contact AHA at 800-424-4301.