Ahead of the midterm elections, President Biden and Democrats tried to sell the American people on the idea that Republicans will go after Medicare if the GOP takes control of Congress.
The president has said on many occasions that both Social Security and Medicare would be “on the chopping block.” Yet Mr. Biden is the one piling on our already strained medical professionals across the United States. Just this past week, the Biden administration announced cuts to Medicare that will prove devastating to American doctors and patients alike.
This hypocrisy troubles me deeply. It is my job in Congress to advocate for the interests of my constituents every single day in Washington. Due to my background as a medical doctor, I have a unique perspective and insight into the struggles of doctors and patients in our American health care system.
I’ve been on the other side of this equation, stood at the bedside of thousands of North Texas women and their children, and provided care as an OB/GYN for nearly 30 years. I saw the hardships American doctors face. That has only been exacerbated by the Biden administration and Democrat policies. Recently, House Budget Committee ranking member Jason Smith and I led fellow members of the Doctors Caucus in sending a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth requesting a swift hearing to discuss solutions to impending cuts on physician payments under Medicare that will be enacted because of irresponsible Democrat rule in Washington.
The Biden administration’s disingenuousness and misleading promises on the impact of their duplicative spending are unbecoming of the American values we hold. Party disagreements aside, Americans deserve better than a government releasing false statements about the use of their tax dollars. In short, the Democrat majority has chosen to prioritize inflationary spending over preserving Medicare for our seniors and those at risk. This doesn’t just hurt American patients but extends to our health care circles and physicians across this country.
Due to these harmful policies, many doctors simply cannot afford to take Medicare cases, leaving those who need it the most in search of care. Physicians that do accept Medicare patients face stunning costs without equal payment. This cycle is simply unsustainable for physicians and will result in a lack of access for millions of Medicare patients across the country.
The United States and Congress could never offer health care workers, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff enough thanks and respect for their heroism in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I find it fundamentally unjust that in response to physicians’ lifesaving efforts, the Biden administration would allow for major cuts to physician reimbursement rates without calling for Congressional intervention. The finalized physician payment schedule for 2023 issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contains a 4.5% reduction to the Medicare Part B conversion factor. Though agencies perform several calculations to determine annual conversion factors, the final number must comply with budget neutrality, meaning that implementing an increase in physician pay would require a decrease in spending in other areas.
To that end, I have worked alongside fellow Republicans to introduce the Protect Seniors and Cut Waste Act and the Removing Waste and Protecting Medicare Act in 2021. Both pieces of legislation would reduce duplicative discretionary spending and make budgetary room for the quality reimbursements physicians and Medicare recipients deserve.
This Administration forcing physicians and Americans seeking access to medical care to pay the price for their own reckless spending is unconscionable. Creating robust health systems requires detailed planning and intentional policymaking, not throwing dollars at special interests through spending packages regardless of record inflation and other costs. American physicians and seniors deserve better.
- Rep. Michael Burgess is an American physician and politician representing Texas’s 26th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.