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Berkley: Republicans Abandon Military Families, Seniors As Nevadans Told They May Lose Access To Their Doctors

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

As Republican Senator Jim Bunning continues to block passage of key emergency legislation in Congress, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today warned Nevadans about the potential loss of access to health care services as a result of cuts in payments to doctors who treat seniors and members of America's military covered under TRICARE.

"I join Nevada military families, seniors and physicians in denouncing Republican delay tactics that have now allowed a 21% cut in Medicare payments to take effect. This political ploy threatens to limit the ability for these men and women and their families to see a doctor," said Berkley. "I am appalled at the total disregard by Republicans for the health care needs of those in the military covered under TRICARE, and by the lack of concern being shown for seniors and others covered under Medicare. And I am stunned by the failure of Republicans to listen to America's doctors who say this is bad for their patients," Berkley said.

Berkley has joined the American Medical Association (AMA), AARP and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) in calling on Republican Senator Bunning to drop his chokehold on legislation that reverses the devastating 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors that has now taken effect.

"The AMA is hearing directly from physicians, and seniors should be very concerned about how the Senate's inaction will impact their ability to see a doctor," said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D. "Military families are also hurt as TRICARE ties its payment rates to Medicare." (

The legislation being blocked also includes a 30-day extension of unemployment insurance, help for unemployed workers in paying for health care (COBRA), small business loan guarantees, the highway bill and flood insurance.

"These men and women, who are in search of work and in need of this assistance, are our friends, neighbors and loved ones. They are scared about what will happen if their benefits expire and they can't pay the rent or find the money for food needed to give a hungry child a meal. I hope those backing this effort to score cheap political points remember that it's real people in Las Vegas and across our nation who Republicans are abandoning in a time of great need," said Berkley.
The move also threatens to stop federal reimbursements to states for highway and transit projects, which could force layoffs of construction workers in the middle of the current economic crisis.

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