PALLONE SUPPORTS OVERRIDING BUSH'S VETO OF MEDICARE IMPROVEMENTS FOR PATIENTS & PROVIDERS ACT OF 2008
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, gave the following statement on the House floor this afternoon urging his colleagues to support overriding President Bush's veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients & Providers Act of 2008.
The legislation prevents the pending 10 percent payment reduction for physicians in Medicare, enhances Medicare preventive and mental health benefits, improves and extends programs for low-income Medicare beneficiaries, and extends expiring provisions for rural and other providers.
"Thank you, Madame Speaker. Last week Congress sent to the president a commonsense proposal that passed both chambers with strong bipartisan support. The bill that we sent to President Bush was a balanced approach that would keep Medicare working for America's seniors, doctors and taxpayers.
"This bill makes a number of improvements to Medicare that are long overdue. The bill expands access to services for beneficiaries and provides additional financial assistance for low-income seniors. This bill also staves off the 10.6 percent cut to physician's payments that are being implemented right now by CMS.
"What this bill does not do is make drastic cuts to Medicare Advantage. It makes very modest and sensible reforms to the program. Do I think that we should do more to reform Medicare Advantage? The answer is yes. But now is not the time or place for that debate.
"Now is the time to vote to protect health care for the elderly and disabled. Now is the time to vote to protect fair reimbursements for our nation's doctor's and pharmacists. Now is the time to vote to protect Medicare. Now is the time to vote to override the President's misguided veto. Thank you."