House bill would extend Medicare sequestration moratorium

March 16, 2021
Keith A. Reynolds

If passed, the bill would extend the moratorium to the end of the year rather than the end of this month.

A bill introduced last week in the House of Representatives could extend the moratorium on Medicare sequestration.

The moratorium, which prevents a 2 percent Medicare cut, is scheduled to end March 31, but House Bill 1868, introduced March 12, would extend that deadline until Dec. 3. The bill currently has been referred to a number of committees to determine whether it falls under their jurisdiction, according to congress.gov.

The bill would also prevent the PAYGO sequestration included in the recently passed American Rescue Plan and by the proposed extension of the moratorium.

Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), applauded the legislation and other congressional efforts to extend the moratorium in an emailed statement.

“MGMA supports recent bipartisan, bicameral efforts to extend the 2% Medicare sequester moratorium for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency,” Gilberg says in the statement. “MGMA also supports and urges Congress to pass H.R. 1868, which would prevent the projected 4% Medicare spending cut stemming from the American Rescue Plan in addition to extending the 2% Medicare sequester moratorium. Without congressional action, the country’s medical groups will face a combined 6% sequester cut---a payment cut that is unsustainable given the financial hardships due to COVID-19 and keeping up with the cost of inflation.”

In October, the heads of four healthcare organizations are calling on congressional leaders to extend the current moratorium on Medicare sequester cuts into next year and after the COVID-19 coronavirus public health emergency has ended.

The letter says that healthcare facilities and staff have already been hard hit by the pandemic and have incurred significant expense to treat the sick while experience unprecedented losses due to the decrease in inpatient and outpatient services.