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Public Statements

Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act Of 2009

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I respect my Republican colleagues, but I think they are suffering from a severe case of amnesia when I listen to what they are saying on the other side. It was they who contributed to this problem in the first place. It was they who stuck their heads in the sand year after year and refused to enact any kind of meaningful reform. They talk about pay-for. They never paid for anything. They just kicked the can down the road and said, Okay, we won't have a cut this year but we will have a larger cut next year. If this continues, we will have a 40 percent cut in the reimbursement rate in the next 2 years. So there is no pay-for on their side. There never has been. It is just a budget gimmick.

Now this year, we have a permanent solution to the problem, and we are saying enough is enough with the threat of severe payment cuts that will drive physicians from Medicare and put beneficiaries' access to doctors in jeopardy.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation is an important element of our overall effort to improve Medicare for seniors. We have done a lot in health care reform. Two weeks ago we passed comprehensive health reform that made critical investments in Medicare. Amongst those, we closed the doughnut hole, thereby making prescription drugs more affordable. We improve access to preventative, primary, and coordinated care, and we increased financial assistance so that low-income seniors can better afford their monthly premiums.

We are helping seniors with this bill today by making them have a choice of physicians and quality physicians. We are helping them with the doughnut hole. We are helping them with everything with this larger health care reform.

I would just ask my Republican colleagues, don't kick the can down the road again. Don't give us all these budget gimmicks again. This is a real solution to the problem. Join us. Make this a bipartisan effort today, and let's pass this comprehensive reform.

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