Vulnerable Democrats urge Congress to act before 2022 Medicare cuts kick in

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  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

Vulnerable Democrats are urging President Biden and congressional leaders to act quickly to prevent the Medicare cuts that will take effect on the first day of the new year.

Why it matters: Congress has little time to act before the Medicare reimbursement cuts kick in on Jan. 1, 2022, and there’s currently no vehicle on the table to push the legislation through.

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  • In a new letter addressed to the president and leadership of both parties in the House and the Senate, the front-line members are hoping to add urgency to the issue, as it comes up amid an already-packed congressional calendar.

The big picture: The moderate Democrats who face tough re-election battles in 2022 are working overtime to send a message to their constituents that they are trying to influence legislative decisions that are popular in their swing districts.

  • A group of Democrats including Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), who is leading the Medicare letter with Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), recently took action to persuade House leadership to make the economy a legislative priority.

What they’re saying: "I think it would really be unfair to the health care profession, after two years of a pandemic, to deliver that kind of dead end," Wild told Axios in a phone interview. “I can only speak for my district, but it would be devastating in my district to have [these cuts] happen."

  • “Cutting Medicare reimbursement to our health care heroes during a pandemic is simply unacceptable,” the members wrote in the letter.

What’s next: One possible option that was floated over the weekend is to attach Medicare sequestration as an add-on to the National Defense Authorization Act.

  • Wild told Axios that she would support that “if it's the only way to make this happen.” But, she added, “I'm not a big fan of adding a bunch of unrelated stuff to the NDAA."

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