Today Congressman Eric Massa acted to protect health care for senior citizens and military families when he voted to support HR 3961, The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 243 to 183 with 9 No Votes. The bill also expands availability of primary and basic care. This bill will prevent a 21 percent cut in Medicare physician payment rates scheduled for January 2010, a key concern Congressman Massa has had with other health care legislation. Instead of temporarily overriding the cut as Congress has done six times before, H.R. 3961 will replace the broken Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a permanent, sustainable solution. The legislation will help veterans because it protects access to physicians for Medicare beneficiaries and members of the military and their families since physician payment rates in TRICARE are tied to those used by Medicare.
"Protecting our nation's senior citizens and the military and their families is very important, not only for me personally but also for the health and well-being of our nation," stated Rep. Massa, a 24-year Navy veteran. "Having consistent access to health care is critical, especially for our military to continue defending our great nation. Ensuring physicians are paid results in that continued access for our seniors, veterans and their families, which is why I am proud to support this legislation."
The bill is supported by a wide range of organizations representing patients, doctors and other providers, including the American Medical Association, AARP, the Military Officers Association of America, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Medicare Rights Center, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.