Blackburn Votes No On "DocFix"
Congressman Marsha Blackburn voted against H.R. 3961, a measure dealing with Medicare compensation rates for doctors. As written, the legislation presented Members of Congress with a stark choice; add a staggering quarter-trillion dollars to the Federal debt, or impose staggering cuts to Medicare in the form of lower compensation rates to doctors while increasing costs for seniors. H.R. 3961 will only temporarily stave off compensation cuts and could ultimately limit patient access.
The Senate failed to pass a companion measure earlier this year, meaning H.R. 3961 has virtually no chance of getting to the President's desk, regardless of House action.
"As we debated health care reform, the House was promised that $500 billion in Medicare savings could be achieved and dedicated to the establishment of a health insurance exchange. I am baffled and outraged that House Leadership did not first apply these alleged Medicare savings to fixing this important compensation problem before they decided to establish a new entitlement on the backs of our seniors. Consequently, seniors who have paid into Medicare all their lives will now quite literally fund a public option system through higher medical costs."
"Situations like the one before us, where Congress is forced to choose between patient care and fiscal responsibility, are about to become all too common as the Federal Government moves to take over health care. I hoped that the Majority would deal with this issue responsibly under health care reform legislation last month, but they chose not to."
"I continue to support bi-partisan approaches that will permanently address averting these scheduled cuts. The bill before us, however, is a temporary bandage that will not address the systemic challenge of doctor's compensation. It will add to the debt and we will be in the same position again as early as 2011. In voting no, I hope that I can send my colleagues on both sides of the aisle back to the drawing board on this one."
Congressman Blackburn supported the Republican alternative put forward in a motion to recommit. Republican plans would reform Medicare and put the savings back into the program by addressing the physician compensation cuts. Many of the savings would be realized by implementing meaningful medical liability reform. While the Democrat proposal will increase the deficit by a quarter trillion dollars, the Republican alternative will not.