PASCRELL, CONGRESS VOTE TO OVERRIDE BUSH VETO OF MEDICARE IMPROVEMENT MEASURE
Helping senior citizens and healthcare providers to a major victory, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today voted in the House of Representatives to override the President's veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. Following the overwhelming 383-41 House vote, the Senate voted 70-26 to override the veto.
"With this veto override, Medicare patients, physicians, pharmacies and other care providers can breathe a deep sigh of relief," stated Pascrell, a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. "Congress spoke in a clear, bipartisan voice against the Bush Administration's will to move Medicare towards a private model.
"The law Congress enacted today is a modest but necessary change from the Administration's proposal. The Administration's plan would have further removed low-income families from access to basic medical care, services and drugs. Physicians would have been forced out of practice. Pharmacies overburdened with financial stress would have had to consider closing their doors or laying-off workers; actions that would have only further depressed regional economic activity. As the number of uninsured Americans climbs to new record highs and the economy continues to struggle, Congress weighed the consequences and acted appropriately on behalf of Medicare patients and care providers."
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act will benefit low-income Medicare recipients by extending and improving assistance programs for those whose income is below $14,040. Pharmacies will benefit by a requirement that would mandate Medicare Advantage plans to pay them within 14 days. It will prevent pharmacies from having to accept below-cost payments when serving low-income patients by delaying the implementation of a new Medicaid payment rule which changes payment limits for pharmacies to be based on the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP).