Healthcare Leadership Council Joins Call to Congress to Maintain Moratorium on Medicare Sequester Cuts During Pandemic

WASHINGTON – The Healthcare Leadership Council has joined more than two dozen groups representing healthcare providers in calling upon Congress to extend its current moratorium on Medicare sequestration cuts until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In a letter to leaders in both houses of Congress, the organizations wrote, “While Congress does not have the power to end the pandemic, it does have the ability to prevent the additional, damaging financial stress that would be caused by the return of the Medicare sequester.”

The sequester, created by 2011 budget legislation, has reduced Medicare reimbursements to healthcare providers by two percent each year since 2013. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in 2020, a moratorium was placed on these payment cuts for the reminder of this calendar year, but they are scheduled to resume on January 1, 2021.

As the letter points out, rising numbers of COVID cases are continuing to place the nation’s healthcare system under financial stress.  They wrote, “This upsurge in cases has impacted the financial health of medical professionals and facilities, including the increased cost of labor to ensure adequate staffing, procurement of personal protective equipment, significant reductions in patient volume resulting from orders to cancel non-emergent procedures, and the high cost of caring for COVID patients.”