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Public Statements

Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, we are all well aware of the inadequacies of the sustainable growth rate formula as a payment policy for reimbursing physicians. Unfortunately, the greatest threat--arguably--facing the Medicare program, if not the entire health care system, was left out of the new health reform law.

In 2010, Congress passed five temporary fixes to a pending physician payment cut. Some were retroactive and some lasted mere weeks. In other words, Congress kicked the can down the road five times last year.

Physician practices need more certainty than week-to-week patches. When this legislation becomes law, it will be the first multiyear fix to Medicare physician rates since 2003. Instead of just addressing the next oncoming payment cliff, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act provides a level of stability and predictability in payments for providers not seen in years and will allow Congress and the administration to work together to develop a long-term answer to the Medicare sustainable growth rate.

This 2-year fix, with a 1 percent increase in the next 2 years, is the first step in a long-term solution to eliminate the SGR and develop a more equitable and affordable Medicare payment policy for physicians. Not voting for this and supporting this 2-year fix may leave physicians facing just a 1-year patch, or more kicking the can down the road with no plan on how to move forward.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.


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