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Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


MEDICARE IMPROVEMENTS FOR PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED -- (Senate - July 09, 2008)

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Mr. COBURN. Madam President, as a practicing physician in the Senate, I remember the last time a Medicare fix came through and we had the problems associated with it. I would make four points about what is going on here.

No. 1, if this bill goes through, 2.3 million senior citizens who are on Medicare Advantage will lose Medicare Advantage. Madam President, 2.3 million will lose. Not only will that happen, but also all Medicare patients will pay $200 million more per year in copays for durable medical equipment. So we have a bill that is supposedly going to do the doctor fix, but under the sleight of hand in the dark of night we are going to raise the fees on Medicare patients by $200 million for durable medical equipment, and we are going to tell 2.3 million Medicare patients who are very pleased with the program they have now that they cannot have that anymore.

We have two choices in health care in this country. We can let the Government run it all--which this is a step toward moving toward that--or we can allow the ingenuity and creativity of this country through a market-based phenomenon--which is what Medicare Advantage is going to--to create an allocation of scarce resources on the basis of quality, great outcome, and patient choice. There is very limited patient choice now because doctors do not want to take Medicare patients because the reimbursements are so low. Well, guess where they will take it. Where the reimbursements are higher because their costs are going like this, and their reimbursements are going down.

So remember this: If, in fact, you vote for this bill, 2.3 million Medicare patients on Medicare Advantage will lose that coverage, and $200 million in additional copays will fall to all Medicare patients across the board in terms of their copay for durable medical equipment.

We can fix this problem. We ought to fix it right. This is not the way to fix it.

I yield back.

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