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Madam Speaker, I rise today to offer an amendment to H. Res. 9.
Although I do not support a wholesale repeal of the legislation, I do believe that there are some bipartisan improvements that can be made to the existing law, and I think now is the time for all of us in Congress to roll up our sleeves and work together.
The goal of this amendment is pretty straightforward. It is set up to maintain adequate health care service, to stabilize the business practice of doctors, and to take into account the long-term economic health of this country.
We all agree that the doctor-patient relationship is a fundamental part of quality health care, but we have found that we have a flawed formula when it comes to setting reimbursement levels. And every year it threatens the ability of doctors to care for their patients, and it threatens the ability of patients to see their doctors.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and stakeholders throughout the health care community, physicians, senior citizens--they all recognize that we have a flawed policy.
How many times in the past have we come together in a bipartisan way over the years in the House of Representatives to provide a temporary patch to this problem without fixing the underlying problem?
In 2010 alone, Congress took five different votes to delay a scheduled cut without stepping up and dealing with a permanent fix to the problem. By an overwhelming vote just a few weeks ago, Congress supported a 1-year delay to a looming 25-percent cut in physician payments.
My amendment is very straightforward and clear. It adds an additional instruction to the committees of jurisdiction over health care legislation to replace the flawed sustainable growth rate formula used to set Medicare payments for doctors. And it requires that Congress adopt a permanent fix to what has previously been an ongoing problem.
It's the right thing to do on behalf of doctors and patients. It's the right fiscal policy as we look for ways to make health care funding more sustainable and more predictable. And as we begin the year looking towards improvements in this extremely complex and yet highly personal and important issue of health care, I think that adopting this amendment would be a good step to move in that direction.
I ask all of my colleagues to support this amendment in a bipartisan way.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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