The effort to #FightTheCut just took another step forward: On Dec. 10 a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to offset the looming cuts in Medicare by providing additional payment to the 37 professions on the CMS chopping block. The bill, S. 5007, is the companion to proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that takes the same approach to the problem.
The latest news makes it crucial that members of the physical therapy profession, patients, and supporters contact lawmakers in both the House and Senate to urge inclusion of the bill in any year-end legislative package.
Initial cosponsors of the bill are Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Kevin Cramer, R-N.Dak., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., but the bill is expected to gain more support in the coming days.
The introduction of the Senate bill is yet another sign that grassroots advocacy efforts led by APTA and other organizations are helping to build momentum for relief from CMS's decision to impose widespread cuts — including a 9% cut to physical therapy values — to pay for increases in evaluation and management payment.
The Senate has until midnight on Dec. 11 to pass a continuing resolution approved in the House earlier this week to avert a shutdown; this short-term measure would extend the government funding deadline to December 18. Congress would then have a week to pass a larger spending bill, potential COVID-relief bill, and an annual defense spending bill, after which time they will likely adjourn for the year.
APTA makes it easy to find and contact your legislators, including offering a suggested script to use during the call. At this point, phone calls are the most effective way to make your voice heard.