In 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) to ensure millions of seniors could maintain access to critical health services, including laboratory tests. Yet, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken a flawed and misguided approach to PAMA implementation, leading to severe cuts to the labs that over 56 million seniors rely on for their lab tests under Medicare.
By drastically cutting rates, including for many of the most commonly performed lab tests, HHS may threaten access to critical lab services for diagnosing and treating beneficiaries with diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, prostate and colon cancers, anemia, infections, opioid dependency and countless other common health conditions.
In an acknowledgement of the ongoing harm facing seniors, Congress has taken important initial steps to address the impact, including the bipartisan passage of the 2019 Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries (LAB) Act and more recently, a delay of ongoing laboratory cuts as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, laboratory cuts are scheduled to return in 2022 and may threaten access to testing for seniors and our most vulnerable populations.