Advocates Push to Extend Pause on Sequestration Cuts

With Medicare’s moratorium set to expire soon, AAHomecare and other advocates are reaching out to lawmakers to extend the suspension of the cuts until the end of 2021.

The American Association for Homecare and industry stakeholders have gotten behind updated legislation that would extend the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester cuts, which will otherwise expire on March 31.

The 2 percent cut has been in effect since the 2012 Sequestration Transparency Act as part of a deal to get out from under the debt ceiling at the time. The CARES Act put a temporary pause on those cuts to help DMEPOS suppliers and other Medicare providers and suppliers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, the suspension is due to lapse at the end of the month.

The new bill, which could be introduced before the end of this week, would extend the suspension of those cuts until the end of 2021, according to a statement from AAHomecare.

The new bill will likely also waive further potential Medicare cuts, starting in FY 2022, stemming from the application of 2010 Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) legislation that triggers automatic cuts across a range of Federal programs to cover deficit spending increases. The recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package could result in such deficit spending. If that’s the case, the broadly applied Medicare cut for healthcare providers would be 4 percent, according to AAHomecare. 

“Please ask your legislators to support efforts to extend the Medicare sequester moratorium until the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and waive the punitive PAYGO requirements,” the AAHomecare statement read.

AAHomecare posted a blog entry that includes a message that providers can email House and Senate healthcare staffers on the issue.

Also, providers can send a message to their lawmakers via the association’s Action Center in support of legislation (adding to the 6,000+ messages sent to Capitol Hill on this issue so far), but AAHomecare noted, “a personal email to a staffer who handles healthcare issues will have a considerably stronger and quicker impact.”

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