MEDICARE IMPROVEMENTS FOR PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS ACT OF 2008--VETO MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (H. DOC. NO. 110-131) -- (House of Representatives - July 15, 2008)
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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, last week, Congress sent to the President a commonsense proposal that passed both Chambers with strong bipartisan support. The bill that we sent to President Bush was a balanced approach that would keep Medicare working for America's seniors, doctors and taxpayers.
This bill makes a number of improvements to Medicare that have been long overdue. The bill expands access to services for beneficiaries and provides additional financial assistance for low-income seniors. This bill also staves off the 10.6 percent cut to physicians' payments that are being implemented right now by CMS.
What this bill does not do is make drastic cuts to Medicare Advantage; it makes very modest and sensible reforms to the program. Now, do I think that we should do more to reform Medicare Advantage? The answer is yes. Because the Bush administration has created a bias in favor of Medicare Advantage.
I would like to make reference to yesterday's New York Times editorial called Medicare's Bias. It says, ``Many of the private plans that participate in the huge government-sponsored health insurance program for older Americans have become a far too costly drain on Medicare's overstretched budget.''
``These private plans--that now cover a fifth of the total Medicare population--receive large subsidies to deliver services that traditional Medicare provides more cheaply and more efficiently by paying hospitals and doctors directly. Congress was right--for reasons of equity and of fiscal sanity--to pass a bill that would at least begin to remove some of these subsidies.''
Madam Speaker, now is the time to vote to protect health care for the elderly and disabled. Now is the time to vote to protect fair reimbursements for our Nation's doctors and pharmacists. And now is the time to vote to protect Medicare. Now is the time to vote to override the President's misguided veto.
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