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Clinician Participation in Medicare at All-Time High

Clinician Participation
Senior Policy Analyst at Paragon Health Institute
Joe Albanese is a Senior Policy Analyst with Paragon Health Institute. He comes to Paragon with over six years of federal and nonprofit public policy experience.
Senior Research Fellow at Paragon Health Institute
Drew Gonshorowski is a Senior Research Fellow at Paragon Health Institute. He brings a decade of experience conducting quantitative research and building models examining health policy and entitlement programs.

Clinicians (doctors and other medical professionals) decide to treat a patient for various reasons, among them being the level of pay they will receive from treating that patient. The decline in nominal Medicare payment rates under the Physician Fee Schedule in recent years – most recently a 3.4 percent cut in 2024 – has raised concerns about whether more doctors will decline to take Medicare patients, potentially harming seniors’ access to care.

The data show these concerns are likely overblown as clinicians’ Medicare participation rates, i.e., the percentage of billing clinicians who agree to accept Medicare payments as payment in full, have never been higher.

As Congress is likely to address Medicare payments for physicians this year, it must know that seniors’ overall access to care is currently high and is likely as high as it has ever been. This fact makes it even more essential for lawmakers to avoid policy changes that increase costs for either patients or taxpayers.

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