House GOP Doctors Caucus

Floor Speech

By:  Gus Bilirakis
Date: March 5, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BILIRAKIS. Thank you, I appreciate it, Dr. Gingrey. Thank you, Dr. Roe, I appreciate it. Thanks for bringing up and sponsoring this Special Order that is so very important to our constituents. Thank you for informing them.

This is a very, very serious issue. We must repeal this SGR and replace it. Again, since coming to Congress more than 6 years ago, doctors in my district have consistently stressed the unsustainability of the SGR and how it impedes them from developing long-term business models.

Each year, Congress has implemented, of course, a temporary stopgap measure to avert the payment cliff, but the doctors have to have certainty. Again, we have a shortage of doctors in the State of Florida, and it's only going to get worse. We must repeal this SGR and replace it. It has led to uncertainty for medical providers, again, as I said, which threatens patient care. Again, access to care is what it's all about. I'm glad that the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, of course, Chairman Upton, has made this a top priority in fixing, again, the SGR.

Again, not only is the uncertainty associated with reimbursement rates impacting physician practices; it also impacts how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to update Medicare Advantage rates for 2014. That's a huge issue. I know that the seniors in my district love their Medicare Advantage. Even though, year after year, Congress has not only allowed the devastating SGR cuts to take effect, CMS is assuming these cuts will take place as it determines the Medicare Advantage adjustment. So in other words, we always fix it at the end of the year, but they're assuming that the cuts will take place. I worry this will result in reduced benefits and increased premiums for the many seniors who like--really love--their Medicare Advantage.


Mr. BILIRAKIS. I couldn't have said it better myself, Dr. Gingrey.

Again, I have constituents in Florida, and it's above 20 percent in my district and closer to 40 percent, who have chosen Medicare Advantage.

It's all about choices, as far as I'm concerned. If I want to get hearing aids, if I want to get a gym membership or eyeglasses, I should have the choice to choose my plan. It works so very well in our area, and we want to continue to give seniors that choice.

I want to thank you guys.

My father, as you referenced, worked so many years to fix this SGR, and I'm very proud now to serve on the Health Committee to contribute.

But I appreciate the two doctors here and all the doctors who have really sacrificed to run for Congress and do what's good for our people, patients. Treating patients is what it's all about. So thank you very much for allowing me to participate.


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