The House voted 246-175 on March 19 to pass H.R. 1868, which would extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester until Dec. 31 and provide relief from the impending statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) cuts.
The moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester was extended on Dec. 27, 2020, by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260) but is due to expire on March 31 unless Congress acts. Additionally, as a result of the use of the reconciliation process without budgetary offsets to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2), the PAYGO Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-139) sets forth that automatic sequestration must be enacted to reduce spending in the next year. According to the Congressional Budget Office estimate, approximately $381 billion in cuts must occur in fiscal year 2022 — with $36 billion (or 4% of Medicare spending) coming from the Medicare program. Congressional intervention before the end of 2021 is needed to prevent the cuts.
The AAMC has supported legislative efforts to extend the Medicare sequester and eliminate the impending PAYGO cuts, including supporting the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act (H.R. 315) and joining other health care stakeholders in urging Congress to continue the moratorium in both a Feb. 18 letter and a March 12 letter to congressional leadership [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 18, March 12].
The legislation will now be sent to the Senate, where its future remains uncertain.