Physicians say accepting Medicare is becoming increasingly unsustainable, causing many practices to refuse new Medicare patients, or even close their practice, all while millions of additional Americans will be relying on Medicare in the coming years. With a 3.37% reduction to Medicare imposed at the start of this year, the American Medical Association (AMA) says reforms are needed to protect access to physicians for millions of Americans.

“After three consecutive years of Medicare cuts, physicians and patients are at a crossroads. Physicians experienced Medicare payment reductions over the past four years, along with steeply rising practice costs, and the burdens wrought by COVID-19. Continuing down this road is unsustainable for many physicians, particularly those in smaller private practices,” says Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, president of the AMA.

An AMA analysis finds that Medicare physician payments increased by just 0.4% a year between 2001 and 2023, while the cost of running a medical practice increased by 47%. Physicians do not receive an annual inflationary update, which hinders their ability to adequately pay staff, purchase new equipment, and invest in their practices. Even Dr. Ehrenfeld’s own parents will be left without access to high-quality care, with the largest burden on rural and underserved areas. New cuts will erode this access even further.

“Congress has the power to prevent these cuts and save patients’ access to their physicians,” says Dr. Ehrenfeld. “The Preserving Seniors’ Access to Physicians Act of 2023 is a bipartisan legislative fix that will completely eliminate the cuts. I urge everyone to visit and contact their member of Congress. Tell them to pass H.R.6683, and protect Medicare patients.” To learn more, visit