Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today called on Republicans in Congress to stop supporting an effort to block legislation that protects payments to doctors who treat seniors and members of America's military covered under TRICARE. Failure to pass the extension will leave residents in Las Vegas and nationwide facing the loss of unemployment benefits, COBRA and other critical assistance.
"The American Medical Association has called this Republican delay tactic "shocking' because it could force physicians in Nevada and across the nation to limit the patients they see, including members of our armed forces and reserves covered under TRICARE and Valley seniors on Medicare," said Berkley.
American Medical Association President J. James Rohack, M.D., declared last week that physicians will be forced to limit the number of patients they see under both Medicare and the TRICARE program for active-duty military and reserves as a result of Republican delays (See: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/health-system-reform/sgr-medicare-cut.shtml).
The emergency legislation being blocked also includes a 30-day extension of unemployment insurance, help for unemployed workers in paying for health care (COBRA), small business loan guarantees, the highway bill, and flood insurance.
"These men and women, who are in search of work and in need of this assistance, are our friends, neighbors and loved ones. They are scared about what will happen if their benefits expire and they can't pay the rent or find the money for food needed to give a hungry child a meal. I hope those backing this effort to score cheap political points remember that it's real people in Las Vegas and across our nation who they are abandoning in a time of great need," said Berkley.
Due to the Republican filibuster, nearly 1.2 million out-of-work Americans became ineligible for federal unemployment insurance today. Millions more will lose their unemployment insurance at the end of this month if Republican obstruction continues.
The move also threatens to stop federal reimbursements to states for highway and transit projects, which could force a halt in construction work and layoffs of construction workers in the middle of the current economic crisis.