January 05, 2023

Year-End Legislation Falls Short of Fully Addressing Medicare Payment Cuts

President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (H.R. 2617) into law Dec. 29. The act is a $1.7 trillion government funding package that included measures to address Medicare payment cuts that were scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

Despite advocacy efforts led by the American College of Radiology® (ACR®), in collaboration with a coalition of more than 100 physician and non-physician organizations, Congress negotiated only a partial increase to the Medicare conversion factor (CF) of 2.5% for 2023 and a 1.25% adjustment for 2024, rather than providing the full 4.5% increase for this year sought by providers.

For the past year, ACR and the medical community stressed the importance of congressional action to eliminate the entirety of the expected 4.5% reduction to Medicare payment rates. This request encompassed both an expiring 3% positive adjustment to CF in 2022 and the application of statutorily mandated budget neutrality to the 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and would have essentially restored the CF to 2022 levels.

ACR is disappointed that Congress did not fully offset these cuts to physician payment and released a statement in response to the bill’s initial introduction. However, there were provisions supported by ACR in the final omnibus act, including: extension of Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act; National Institutes of Health funding increase; Medicare funded residency positions; and report language recommending the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services consider existing evidence to determine the need for the agency to cover CT colonography as a Medicare-covered colorectal cancer screening test; and Alzheimer diagnostics radiopharmaceutical payment policy.

As the 118th session of Congress gets underway, ACR and the medical community will continue to advocate for permanent Medicare payment reform. ACR’s Government Relations team will be featured in an upcoming podcast about what to expect in 2023 and key advocacy issues, available online later this month.

For more information, please contact Ashley Walton, ACR Government Affairs Director.