From November 1-7 Ada County had 1,841 new positive COVID-19 cases and now with winter and holidays approaching, the numbers will likely continue to rise. Yet, since February, 800,000 American healthcare workers have lost their jobs. Medical providers are not immune to the economic crisis the pandemic created.

In January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plan to cut Medicare reimbursements for healthcare providers. These payment reductions will hurt practices already weakened by the economy.

When the government set bans on non-emergency care, it led to a significant drop in patients for healthcare providers. Specialties like anesthesia experienced drops as high as 70%. Even emergency rooms, which treated COVID-19 patients, saw a drop of 50%. These numbers just aren’t sustainable – and the Medicare payment cut will only make matters worse.

When we turn the corner on COVID-19, Idaho needs a healthcare system that provides patients with the care we need. The doctor pay cut will only put critical services at greater risk.

Congress can put a stop to the reimbursement change, but time is running out. Idahoans need Senator Crapo to act immediately to protect patients and healthcare workers by stopping the upcoming doctor pay cut.

Tyler Hurst, 

Star, Idaho