President Proposes More Cuts to Clinical Laboratory Services

President Obama on March 4 proposed a budget for 2015 that includes an additional $7.9 billion in cuts to payment for clinical laboratory services between 2015 and 2024. The proposed cuts amount to an overall 14 percent funding reduction, according to the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA), which quickly called on congressional leaders to oppose the provisions. Medicare payment for laboratory testing has been subjected to significant payment rate freezes and cuts in recent years.  In addition to a 2 percent cut as a result of the FY 2013 short-term Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) patch, and another 2 percent through sequestration, the Affordable Care Act contains an annual 1.75 percent cut to the CLFS that is scheduled to end in 2015. The president's budget would extend that cut each year beginning in 2016 and ending in 2023. "The impact of these proposed cuts will not only reduce access to lab services but severely stymie innovation, including the advancement of molecular diagnostics, which have ushered in the era of personalized medicine and revolutionized the care and treatment of many chronic and life-threatening diseases, including cancer."

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