Medicare payment reform and sequestration
As part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, Congress created a joint congressional committee (referred to as the supercommittee) that was tasked with reducing the federal deficit by at least $1.2 to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
The supercommittee failed to negotiate a legislative package to reduce the federal deficit by the November 2011 deadline. After several delays, automatic cuts to the federal budget took effect on March 1, 2013, through what is called the sequestration process.
The across-the-board cuts not only reduce Medicare payments to physicians by 2 percent, but funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be cut 5.1 percent. This will result in $1.5 billion cuts to the NIH budget which could lead to 1,380 fewer research grants, a loss of up to 20,500 jobs, and a $3 billion decrease in economic activity. Cancer research funding will also be cut by $250 million.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) Past President Daniel M. Siegel, MD, FAAD, expressed the organization’s disappointment in Congress’s and the White House’s failure to avoid cuts to medical research and physician payment.
The AADA has developed a list of frequently asked questions about the sequestration cuts and how they will affect physician practices and patients. Read the AADA Sequestration FAQs here. The AADA will continue to advocate on behalf of the specialty and its patients, and will monitor this issue and provide updates as more information becomes available.
In addition to the sequestration cuts, physicians face an additional 24.5 percent cut on Dec. 31, 2013, resulting from the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Together, these cuts would severely jeopardize patients’ access to quality dermatologic care.
AADA supports legislation that addresses physician shortage
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) has sent a letter to Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) commending them for introducing legislation that would increase graduate medical education (GME) slots. The Training Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act addresses the growing physician shortage crisis by increasing GME slots by 15,000 over the next five years, while adding accountability measures. In its letter, the AADA cited recent research that projects non-primary care subspecialties like dermatology will endure a shortage of 64,000 medical and surgical specialists by 2020. Read the AADA’s letter of support.
AADA urges Congress to stop cuts to Medicare physician payments
To date, the AADA has communicated with Congress on medicare physician payment and other public health policy issues, as follows:
- The AADA joined other physician organizations in urging supercommittee chairs Sen. Murray and Rep. Hensarling to include meaningful medical liability reform in the final deficit-reduction package.