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Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, our greatest successes in this Congress have come when both sides have worked together. We saw it last year on the Energy bill when we increased the CAFE standards to historic levels and, more recently, the first thing this year on the economic stimulus package.

We started initially down the path of compromise when we began the Medicare discussions. Both sides wanted to prevent cuts to physicians in the Medicare Program and to preserve access to the quality of medical care our seniors have come to depend upon.

Unfortunately, the majority walked away from these bipartisan discussions. In an effort to preserve some of the progress, protect benefits for seniors, and to produce a bill that can be signed into law, Senator Grassley crafted a Medicare bill which, if it were to be passed today, it would be signed by the President of the United States.

Senator Grassley's alternative, which I will shortly ask consent to go to, includes a 1.1 percent increase in the physician update, protection for patients who need extensive therapies following a stroke, 2 years of funding for the special diabetes program, a new cardiopulmonary rehabilitation benefit--this is, by the way, especially important to Kentucky where far too many of our citizens struggle with pulmonary diseases.

There is a new program to improve care and save money by encouraging doctors to write prescriptions electronically, a very important step in the right direction. And it also preserves patient choice and access to Medicare Advantage, which helps retired Kentucky teachers.

We all know what is going to happen. Once this bill is not proceeded to, we will have bipartisan negotiations, which is the way this process started out in the first place and, frankly, the way it will ultimately end. That is the way the Senate does its best work. Having said that, I have notified my friend, the majority leader, that I did have a consent agreement to propound. I see that he is now on the Senate floor. I will ask that consent at this time.

I ask unanimous consent that the pending motion be temporarily set aside and that it be in order for the Republican leader to move to proceed to S. 3118, a bill introduced by Senator Grassley to extend expiring provisions under the Medicare Program and to file cloture on that motion.

I further ask that the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S. 3118 occur immediately following the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S. 3101. I further ask that if the motion to proceed to either Medicare bill is adopted, no other pending business be displaced.


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