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Ms. BUERKLE. I thank my colleague from Louisiana.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to say what an honor it is to be here tonight on the floor with my colleagues and the members of the Doctors Caucus.
I do stand here as a nurse and also as the daughter of a 90-year-old mother. So Medicare for her, I know how she depends on the system.
One of the things we didn't talk about and one of my roles in life was as an attorney, as an attorney who represented a large teaching hospital. About 2 weeks ago, I joined with some of my colleagues on the House floor, and we talked about what this health care law is going to do to our hospitals. When our hospitals and our doctors are affected by reimbursements, by Medicare cuts, that really affects our seniors. That reduces their access to care.
So the first thing I want to do tonight as a health care professional and as someone who cares deeply--and I think that's the beauty of this tonight, of our getting together as people who have invested their lives in health care, who love people, who care about people. This isn't a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is an American issue because health care affects all of us. This is a group of people who really believes that there is a better way, that there is a much better way to provide access to health care in our country without jeopardizing that access and without jeopardizing the quality of care that our country has to offer.
So the first thing I want to do tonight is reassure our seniors that we are talking about protecting and allowing the Medicare system to continue on. What they need to understand is that the health care law has changed Medicare forever. Medicare is different now than it was before the health care law passed. The health care law cuts, Mr. Speaker, $500 billion from Medicare.
I just want to make clear on this graph what happens to Medicare reimbursements from 2012. You can see where we are. It's a minus, a cut of 9.7 percent; but here in 2018, the cuts to Medicare and the reimbursements to our hospitals are down 28.6 percent. I've had all the hospitals in my district come to me, and they were proponents of the health care law. They wanted reform. They've come to me and they've said, This health care law is going to bankrupt us because not only is the health care law affecting their Medicare reimbursements; it's affecting their disproportionate share reimbursements, which keeps many hospitals afloat that treat indigent patients and that treat Medicaid patients. It also affects their GME and their IME, which we talked about in the last Special Order we had in regards to how we're going to keep our teaching hospitals and keep all of our hospitals viable.
So I just want to leave the message tonight with the American people that we care about preserving Medicare for our seniors. We are not proposing anything in our budget proposal that would affect our seniors and those back to age 55. We want to assure the American people that we care so deeply about health care and about the quality of health care; but we are very concerned about this health care law, and it's why we voted to repeal it several months ago. One of the first things we did when we came to Washington was to repeal the health care law because we know what it will do to our seniors and to our health care providers.
I thank my colleague for organizing our time here tonight on the floor. Again, we just want to reassure the American people that we care about our seniors. We want to make sure they have access to quality care, to good health care.
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