McKinley, Schneider Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Hospital Cuts During COVID-19

Bill Would Prevent Cuts to Critical Providers, Keep Focus on COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va) and Brad Schneider (D-IL) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to prevent cuts to hospital payments at a time when many providers are stretched thin and struggling with the public health crisis.

The Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act delays cuts to Medicare reimbursement through the duration of the public health emergency, ensuring that cash strapped providers can stay focused on fighting COVID-19 instead of worrying about financial hardships.

“At a time when health care workers are on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress should be doing everything within their power to ease their burden,” said Rep. McKinley. “America’s health care providers continue to be stretched thin and face serious financial challenges as a result of the economic and public health crisis. Suspending Medicare reimbursement cuts will allow hospitals and doctors to keep their doors open and continue providing critical care to their patients.”

“COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country. The dramatic growth in cases across the country means continued stress on our frontline health providers. Our hospitals are reporting devastating staffing shortages, overloaded ICUs, and diminishing supplies of personal protective equipment. Our health care professionals report growing burnout and hospitals are experiencing decreased revenue as more are forced to stop elective procedures. Now is not the time to reinstitute across the board cuts to our providers” said Congressman Brad Schneider.

Since 2011, Medicare payments have been subject to a 2% reduction, known as the Medicare sequester. Congress delayed these cuts through March 31, 2021 as part of the Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus COVID Relief Deal, which became law in December.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has not waned, and our providers now again face revenue cuts. According to the American Hospital Association, hospital operating margins are down an estimated 18.7%.

Background:

Congressman McKinley has been a consistent advocate for West Virginia hospitals. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit he has:

  • In October, he led a bipartisan letter to HHS Secretary Azar expressing concerns over the Provider Relief Fund requirements to ensure hospitals have the ability to keep their doors open during the pandemic.
  • In July, he co-sponsored the Saving Rural Hospitals from Closure Act, which will help hospitals struggling for survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would forgive repayments, extend the timeline of repayments, and lower the interest rate of Medicare Advanced Payments (MAP) made during the pandemic.

The Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act has received support from the following organizations:

  • American Hospital Association
  • Federation of American Hospitals
  • American Medical Association
  • America’s Essential Hospitals
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Illinois Hospital Association
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Large Urology Group Practice Association
  • Digestive Health Physicians Association
  • Infusion Providers Alliance
  • American Academy of Dermatology Association
  • American Optometric Association 
  • Heart Failure Society of America
  • American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
  • Alliance of Community Health Plans
  • Ambulatory Surgery Center Association
  • America’s Health Insurance Plans
  • America’s Physician Groups
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Neurology 
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • American Association for Homecare
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American College of Cardiology
  • American College of Gastroenterology
  • American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
  • American College of Physicians
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Health Care Association
  • American Medical Group Association
  • American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association
  • American Nurses Association 
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • American Optometric Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Society of Breast Surgeons
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • Healthcare Leadership Council
  • LeadingAge
  • National Association for Behavioral Healthcare
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization/Hospice Action Network
  • National Association of Spine Specialists
  • Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society
  • Premier Healthcare Alliance
  • Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association
  • The Catholic Health Association of the United States
  • Visiting Nurse Associations of America/ElevatingHOME
  • Vizient, Inc.

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