The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its March 2022 Report to Congress on March 15. MedPAC recommended 2023 payment updates be consistent with current law for services paid under the inpatient and outpatient fee-for-service (FFS) payment systems. It did not recommend an update to the physician fee schedule (PFS) or ambulatory surgical center FFS payment systems.
The report acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on all aspects of the health care system. In 2020, Medicare’s payments to hospitals continued to be below hospitals’ costs. After including the Medicare share of federal relief funds, the report stated that Medicare margins for hospitals paid under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System improved slightly in 2020 to -8.5%.
Despite the PHE, the report said that beneficiary access to clinical services is comparable to that of privately insured people ages 50 to 64 and comparable to access in prior years. Medicare’s total payment for clinician services declined in 2020. However, Medicare spending for telehealth services grew dramatically in 2020, accounting for about 5% of PFS spending compared with 1% of PFS spending in 2019.