Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pete Sessions votes "no" on Medicare bill

Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 6331 by a veto-proof majority, "To amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to extend expiring provisions under the Medicare Program, to improve beneficiary access to preventive and mental health services, to enhance low-income benefit programs, and to maintain access to care in rural areas, including pharmacy access, and for other purposes." What this bill does is block further cuts to Medicare reimbursements. The bill is supported by just about everybody but insurance company lobbyists who want to eviscerate Medicare in favor of more privatization.

The bill passed 355 - 59, Pete Sessions being one of the 59 who voted against it.

The bill is supported by the American Medical Association; in this op-ed, AMA President Nancy H. Nielsen, MD urges the Senate to follow suit by passing a veto-proof bill:
"Today, we stand at the brink of a Medicare meltdown. On July 1 — just five days from now — the government will slash Medicare physician payments by 10.6 percent.

"This cut would force 60 percent of doctors to limit the number of new Medicare patients they treat. More than half of doctors say they'd need to cut staff, and 14 percent say they'd quit patient care altogether...

..."The House made this critical issue a top priority. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives acted decisively to pass this legislation — H.R. 6331 — by an overwhelming, veto-proof, bipartisan margin of 355 to 59.

"Now, it's the Senate's turn to consider this same legislation. We urge the Senate to act today - before their Fourth of July recess — to stop these cuts and allow Medicare to keep its promise to America's seniors.

"We can't put patients into limbo —where their physicians are forced to make no-win decisions just to keep their office doors open. Medicare patients deserve better from Washington! And frankly, so do those who care for Medicare patients.

"We've made a diagnosis. The treatment is clear. The House has prepped the patient. Now the Senate needs to administer the cure.

"Access to Medicare for our patients — among them some of the most vulnerable of our family, friends and neighbors — hangs in the balance. There's a lot at stake, and today the physicians of America call on the Senate to do the right thing for the Greatest Generation."

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