Following Senate approval, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 384-38 in favor of continuing to delay the return of Medicare sequestration through December 31. On April 14, President Joe Biden signed the legislation into law. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this automatic 2% cut to all Medicare providers was temporarily halted in 2020, then extended through March 2021.
Although the Medicare sequestration delay expired in early April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had not been enforcing the 2% cut. CMS expected Congress to pass the legislation extending the holiday, which was introduced in early March. The continued relief is aimed at helping all health-care providers paid through Medicare to stay afloat financially while continuing to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to normalcy.
In addition, health-care stakeholders expect that Congress will consider legislation later in the year to avoid an additional 4% Medicare sequester scheduled to take effect January 1, 2022. The cut was required by pay-as-you-go rules designed to offset part of the cost of passing the American Rescue Plan economic stimulus package.