House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan agreement to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits with reforms, and a fix to the Medicare reimbursement formula for physicians treating seniors. Chairman Price served as a conferee on the committee.
"This bipartisan extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and Medicare physician reimbursement rates is nowhere near perfect and very far from ideal," said Chairman Price. "The legislation does offset the costs of extending unemployment benefits and halting a dangerous cut in physician payments for treating seniors.
"Last December, the House of Representatives passed a long-term, fully offset extension of these items -- including a two-year fix to the Medicare formula as we work to fully repeal it and replace it with a system that makes sense for seniors and their physicians. We need to replace this flawed formula as soon as possible to protect seniors' access to care. Throughout this process, we fought for responsible solutions to generate some measure of certainty to get our economy back on track. The Democrat-led Senate, however, chose instead to delay making any real decisions for two months. Two months later, now, the Senate Democrat leadership remained unwilling to agree to some of the same policies they had once supported. They rejected solutions that passed through the House in a bipartisan manner and had previously been supported by President Obama.
"However, there were some major victories for hard-working taxpayers. This bill will institute the largest decrease in president's harmful healthcare law to date. It also puts in place the most positive reforms in the unemployment system in the history of the program. Though there is much work to do to fundamentally reform and save the Medicare payment system for physicians, seniors' access to care will not be compromised due to a severe cut in payment for services in accordance with the policy in this legislation.
"So we now have a product that is flawed but necessary -- necessary because the policies of the Obama Administration continue to leave American families suffering under a difficult economy and necessary because a more robust package was met with continued intransigence on the part of the Democrat leadership in the Senate. This is the same leadership that refuses to pass a budget for over 1,000 days and refuses to consider the almost 30 pieces of positive legislation sitting on their desk that have passed the House in a bipartisan manner. For the sake of job creators and those looking for a job, I call on my Senate Democrat colleagues to get to work on these proposals."