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Public Statements

Medicare Premium Fairness Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support H.R. 3631, the Medicare Premium Fairness Act of 2009, of which I am an original cosponsor.

Unless Congress acts quickly, millions of America's seniors will find themselves with a smaller Social Security check at a time when they are already stretching every dollar they have. If we don't act today, 27 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will see their part B premium increase from $96 to $110 or $120. That's potentially a 25 percent increase in their Medicare part B premiums when they're getting no increase in their Social Security COLA.

It won't just be Medicare beneficiaries who are harmed either. Cash-strapped States will also feel a pinch if we don't act. Most of those impacted by the possible premium increases are dual-eligibles, or those beneficiaries who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid because they may have low incomes. Their premium increases will have to be paid for by States as part of their Medicaid programs. As we all know, States across the Nation are facing large budget deficits and are being forced to slash critical services and increase taxes. This simply is not the time that the Federal Government should be shifting more costs to States who are simply unable to absorb it.

Mr. Speaker, even though this is an emergency situation, we have found a way to make sure that the bill is completely paid for and does not add one dime to the deficit. It is imperative that Congress act today in order to make sure that every Medicare beneficiary is financially protected and is able to afford the Medicare services he or she deserves.

I once again urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill. Please vote ``yes.'' Vote to protect America's seniors.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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