In a letter to congressional leadership, the Health Care Organization Coalition, which includes the American Health Care Association, asked Congress to fully extend the Medicare sequester moratorium through the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the United States and around the world. As noted by the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran, the declared COVID-19 PHE is expected to continue through the end of 2021,” the letter said.

The coalition noted that on Dec. 27, 2020, The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law, providing a three-month extension (until March 31) of the Medicare sequester moratorium as originally enacted in The CARES Act.

“While the undersigned organizations are very appreciative of this short-term extension, we once again ask Congress to fully extend the Medicare sequester moratorium through the end of the COVID-19 PHE,” the letter said.
Further, the coalition said the months ahead will be difficult as the country launches an unprecedented effort to vaccinate the vast majority of Americans, while simultaneously facing the spread of new and potentially more harmful COVID-19 variants.

“Health care providers across the spectrum are ready to meet this challenge, but we need congressional help now,” the letter said.
As Congress negotiates the next COVID-19 relief package, the coalition urged the inclusion of HR 315, Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act, that will extend the Medicare sequester moratorium through the PHE. The proposal is bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and David McKinley, (R-W.Va.).

“We need every resource at our disposal to meet the significant challenges that remain, especially as health care providers continue to endure financial strain caused by the pandemic. Now is not the time to cut Medicare reimbursements that are necessary to providing care to our communities,” the letter said.