Wyoming’s U.S. Senator John Barrasso has joined Arizona Senator Tom Cotton to introduce legislation that would redirect a portion of the recently passed $1.9 trillion Democrat spending bill to address looming cuts to Medicare.
The Protecting Seniors Access to Health Care Act would reallocate $12.3 billion to health care providers impacted by COVID-19, which is the same amount mandated by the automatic 2 percent spending cut known as the sequester. The sequester is a 2 percent reduction in payments to Medicare providers that was to have started in 2013.
Congress previously intervened on a bipartisan basis to stop the cuts, and the sequester was suspended from May 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, through a provision in the CARES Act. Congress then acted in the 2020 end-of-year funding bill to continue the relief until March 31, 2021 – next Wednesday.
The $1.9 trillion partisan spending bill recently enacted by the Democrats did not include relief from the Medicare sequester. As a result, Medicare providers will again experience an automatic spending cut without legislation such as Barrasso and Cotton have introduced.
Barrasso said that the Democrats’ inability to avoid cuts to Medicare providers fighting COVID-19 during a pandemic in their $1.9 trillion bill was “another bad surprise in a bill that was full of them.”
Cotton said the Democrats in the last so-called relief bill allocated funding for a variety of liberal pet projects, but neglected to address the impending Medicare sequestration deadline. He said the legislation he and Barrasso introduced fixes the problem that Democrats caused and ensures that seniors are protected.