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Mr. COBURN. I will answer my colleague as somebody who has practiced medicine for 25 years: MedPAC, last year, said 29 percent of Medicare beneficiaries it surveyed were looking for a primary care doctor and had great difficulty in finding somebody to treat them.
That is now. In the State of Texas, 58 percent of the State's doctors took new Medicare patients, but only 38 percent of the State's primary care doctors took new Medicare patients.
I would make the case to you that if you delay care, that is denied care. It is exacerbated in our older population because an older person with a medical need is much more susceptible to the complications that can come from that initial problem. So if you delay the care, you are denying the care and you are actually increasing the cost.
There are 15 million people in this population. I have no idea if their plans include all of them. But if you add 15 million new people to Medicare, what you are going to have is 50 percent of them are not going to find a primary care physician to care for them because the rate of reimbursement does not cover the cost of care.
I think the editorial you quote is exactly right.
I would also note, if I may, that President Obama loves the Mayo Clinic, and rightly so. I had a brain tumor removed the summer before last by the Mayo Clinic. I am standing here on the Senate floor because of their expertise.
Mr. McCAIN. There are many who believe the Senator from Oklahoma could not have a heart attack.
Mr. COBURN. I will ignore that comment.
The fact is, what Mayo says is we have to figure out how we create incentives in terms of how do we get people cared for at a lower cost. Medicare is not the way to do it.
As a matter of fact, I heard our colleagues talk. We have had eight votes since last Saturday. We are ready to vote. This is a 2,074-page bill. I have 15 amendments in the queue. I want to vote on them.
They don't want to vote because they don't want the American people to hear all the bad things about what is going to happen to their health care if this bill passes. If we do Medicare, what is going to happen is Medicare costs are going to skyrocket, but access is going to go down.
Mr. McCAIN. Apparently, I would ask my colleague from Tennessee, we do not know what we would be voting on because there has been a whole rewrite of this health care reform here after a year. We do not even know what the provisions of that bill are except what has been leaked. Apparently, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, with the exception of the majority leader, don't know what it is either.
Mr. COBURN. If the Senator will yield, there are some things we could vote on. President Obama outlined some very specific things that ought to be in this bill. We ought to vote to put them in the bill.
What he said he wanted and what this bill presents are two different things. We ought to vote on making sure everybody has access. We ought to vote on making sure we are under the same plan as everybody else we are going to put into any new expanded health care coverage. We ought to vote in making sure everybody is treated fairly in this country. We ought to vote on your prescription drug reimportation. We ought to vote. But what we are doing is we are getting a slowdown.
We heard we are obstructing the bill. We are not obstructing the bill. Any other bill that comes before this body that had 2,000 pages in it we would allot 8 weeks, 10 weeks to debate.
As our colleague from Maine knows, there is not a more complicated subject that will affect more people that this body has ever taken up. We are trying to squeeze that into 3 1/2 weeks, and the last 2 weeks we don't know what is in the bill.
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Mr. COBURN. They are going to cut care. We are going to have more complications and worse outcomes. That is what is going to happen. Rather than changing the payment formula, which is what we should do, by rewarding quality and rewarding outcome, rather than rewarding flipping a switch, that is what needs to happen. We are going to take the same antiquated system, we are going to cut $465 billion from it, and then we are going to add, as my colleague from Tennessee said, it is 34 million people, if they include everybody from 55 to 64 in the same program.
Mrs. HUTCHISON. Is the Senator saying that whether you were at the top of your class, such as the Senator from Oklahoma or the Senator from Tennessee or the Senator from South Dakota, or the bottom of your class, as the Senator from Arizona has admitted he held down the fort, regardless of where you are on the quotient of where you stood in your class, you know what the bottom line is.
Mr. COBURN. Care is going to be impacted. Here is a survey of 90,000 physicians. That is more than the active practicing physicians of the AMA. More than 8 in 10 physicians surveyed think payment reform is best to improve the system for all Americans. Only 5 percent of the physicians surveyed rated the current government health care program as effective, 5 percent.
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