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Public Statements

Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

MEDICARE IMPROVEMENTS FOR PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS ACT OF 2008

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Mr. BARROW. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, without H.R. 6331 many doctors across the country will not be able to afford to see and treat Medicare patients. In a rural district like mine where a greater percentage of the population depends on Medicare for their health care, that's not acceptable. We are lucky to have world-class health care in this country, but health care is only as good as an individual's ability to get to that health care and their ability to afford it. H.R. 6331 will keep our doctors in business so that our Nation's poor and elderly can get the health care that they need.

I am proud of the fact that H.R. 6331 contains some specific relief for folks in rural areas, making sure that rural doctors get paid fairly, increasing payments to critical access hospitals, and covering the additional fuel costs faced by ambulances in rural districts. This bill will also help poor seniors by increasing the amount of assets that a low-income beneficiary can have and still qualify for financial help with Medicare costs.

I recently spent a week touring just about every kind of health care facility in my district. Folks back home have a lot of problems with our health care system. While this bill doesn't fix everything that's broke with Medicare, it is a big step forward and we absolutely need it.

Mr. Speaker, we have until July 1 to stop these cuts from taking effect.

Unless we adopt this legislation before then, doctors all across the country will have to start turning away Medicare patients that they are seeing right now. We can't let that happen. I therefore urge my colleagues to support this bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. BARROW. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, we have until July 1 to stop these cuts from taking effect. Unless we adopt this legislation before then, doctors all across the country will start turning away Medicare patients. We cannot let that happen.

I want to thank the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce for his leadership on this matter. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

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