U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted against H.R. 3961 -- the companion bill to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's healthcare bill (H.R. 3962) - which would have added $210 billion to the deficit over ten years.
"For the past seven years, I've supported efforts to protect our doctors and their staffs from scheduled Medicare reimbursement cuts, which in the end would affect the care they are able to give their patients. Today, I voted for a plan that would prevent the scheduled doctors' reimbursement cuts, would not add to the deficit, and would ensure future South Jersey seniors are not shouldering the costs. Regrettably, it was not the bill that was approved by the full House today," said LoBiondo.
Today's legislation (H.R. 3961), which was stripped from H.R. 3962 due to its cost, would prevent the scheduled reimbursement cuts to physicians who accept patients on Medicare. The U.S. Senate previously rejected a similar bill to H.R. 3961 in a bipartisan 47 to 53 vote in October.
Established in 1997 and designed to control costs, the reimbursement formula calls for a 21 percent cut to be enacted on January 1, 2010. While preventing the reimbursement cuts -- a position LoBiondo has long supported - the 243 to 183 vote on H.R. 3961 could result in $49 billion in Medicare premium increases for seniors over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
"Two weeks ago, I voted against Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill in part due to its far too high cost. This companion bill, which the Speaker intentionally brought to the House floor separately, equally fails at reducing rising costs. The doctors' fix should be addressed as part of the healthcare debate; it should not add $210 billion to the record deficits we are already experiencing; and it must not pass along the costs to seniors," concluded LoBiondo.