Lawmakers Push Off Medicare Spending Cuts


December 10, 2021 6:08 am

The Senate passed legislation 59-34 yesterday that cancels automatic cuts to Medicare, farm subsidies and other programs triggered by deficit spending earlier this year under the PAYGO law.

The measure (S. 610) would push into 2023 the balances on statutory “pay-as-you-go” scorecards that would have triggered funding cuts next year. It also would hit pause for three months, through March 31, on a 2% automatic cut to Medicare payments required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25). Those cuts were most recently suspended through Dec. 31 under Public Law 117-7. It also delay changes to Medicare payments for physicians and some other services for a year.

This week should be the last time Congress extends the moratorium on the Medicare sequester and bonus payments for physicians, Marc Goldwein, director of policy at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said.

Both policies were aimed at buoying the health-care industry during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, but aren’t needed any more, Goldwein told Bloomberg Government. “If there’s a need for more relief for hospitals then Congress should do that, but this is a really blunt tool for that,” he said, Alex Ruoff reports.