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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Waxman.
Mr. Speaker, today the Republican leadership once again chooses politics over substance and what is good for the American people. The current SGR patch will expire on March 31, at which point Medicare's payment to physicians will be cut by almost 24 percent. It is critical that we take meaningful action to fix the SGR before the end of the month.
We all know that the SGR formula is flawed. After 10 years of patching these cuts, after wasting $150 billion, enough is enough. It is why we began last year seriously looking at this issue, and we came up with a bipartisan, bicameral solution. In fact, if was quite the lesson in legislating. Particularly, we ended up arriving at a consensus bill on the SGR.
So I ask the Republican leadership: For what reason have you poisoned this process with an unacceptable pay-for?
This bill will pass today and go nowhere. It will not be taken up by the Senate or signed by the President. You have singlehandedly, in my belief, stomped on months and months of hard work and effort by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and our staffs. Late nights, weekends, hard compromises. We all saw the greater good in finally getting a permanent policy replacement for the SGR. But instead of working with our leadership, the Republicans have turned this into their 51st vote to repeal or undermine the ACA, and you are going to leave 13 million Americans uninsured if you were ever to succeed in repealing the ACA.
This is just a poison pill. The pay-for is a poison pill for something that we agreed on in terms of the substance of fixing the SGR. You could have picked other ways of paying for this. I think we are close to a consensus on the pay-for. Instead, you put in this poison pill. You are wasting valuable time where you will basically do nothing.
We only have 2 weeks left. Let's defeat this bill today, sit down over the next 2 weeks and come up with a pay-for that makes sense, not a pay-for that simply repeals the Affordable Care Act, which is working well. More and more people are signing up. I had an enrollment event this weekend in my district. People are signing up. Don't destroy the process. We have a good SGR fix.
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