Before adjourning for the holidays, the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which was signed into law by President Biden shortly after. The sprawling piece of legislation, known as an omnibus, contains a number of health care related provisions, including many positive policies that the AASM has prioritized in our Capitol Hill visits and advocacy work over the last year.
In regard to physician payment, the omnibus mitigates some of the scheduled Medicare payment cuts by eliminating the scheduled 4% PAYGO cuts and partially mitigating the cuts under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for the next two years. AASM members pushed for these cuts to be eliminated throughout the year and advocated for HR 8800, which shared much of the same language as the omnibus in eliminating the Fee Schedule cuts, by sending out over 60 messages to Congress asking for their support of the legislation.
Telemedicine flexibilities, another focal point of the AASM’s legislative outreach, are also addressed in the omnibus. Throughout 2022, the AASM has been advocating for bills allowing for the current flexibilities under the Covid-19 public health emergency to be made permanent. Congress has included language identical to HR 4040 in the appropriations package, meaning many of the current telehealth flexibilities are extended through the end of 2024, and geographic site requirements are permanently removed.
While both of these measures show progress, the AASM remains committed to working with Congress and our allies for a permanent physician payment solution and for permanent telehealth expansion.