The AAMC joined 134 other health organizations in a March 15 letter to congressional leaders urging them to provide physicians with fiscal stability by passing legislation that provides an annual inflation-based payment update based on the full Medicare Economic Index (MEI). The letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) noted that physicians continue to see their Medicare payments decrease while inflation and practice costs are rising and that a permanent solution is needed.
The letter commended the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) for taking a significant step by recommending in its March 15 report that Congress increase the 2024 Medicare physician payment rate above current law to account for inflation. However, the health groups stated that the inflation-based update should be tied to the full MEI instead of 50% of the MEI (which was recommended by MedPAC). The letter noted that without change, patient access to care is anticipated to become a significant issue. According to MedPAC’s report, among beneficiaries looking for a new primary care physician, half had issues finding one. The letter referenced the AAMC’s report on physician supply and demand projections showing that patients have difficulty finding specialists in rural and historically underserved areas.