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Public Statements

Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I am sorry, but I simply cannot support yet another temporary SGR patch. This bill is bad for seniors, and it is bad for doctors. We want to achieve a permanent solution to this ongoing problem. This bill does nothing to achieve that goal. In fact, it sets back months and months of hard work. What we should be considering today is the bipartisan-bicameral agreement that my colleagues and I developed. That bill is what doctors' groups and patients' groups support. That bill can also be offset without robbing one provider to pay another provider.

What is before us today doesn't fix the problem. It exacerbates it. We had a true opportunity to finally accomplish what our constituents have asked us to do for a decade, and that is to pass a permanent repeal of the SGR, but the Republican leadership is letting that opportunity slip away. I respect my colleague from Pennsylvania, but I don't believe that if we pass another patch that we are going to go back and do a permanent fix. My fear is, by doing this, we will lose the opportunity to do the permanent fix and that it will simply slip away.

Two weeks ago, the Republicans brought to the floor our agreement, and they added a poison pill offset that they knew the President and the Senate would never accept, a delay of critical Affordable Care Act provisions. All that accomplished was wasting time, which has led us to this scenario of spending another nearly $20 billion on a patch. Meanwhile, this bill includes health policies that have never seen the light of day. Some have been used as offsets, others as sweeteners, to get Members to vote for it, but I am not falling for it. That is no way to govern. The Senate is actually poised to vote on our bipartisan agreement that is fully offset. It does so without cutting from the health care system, and that is the bill we should be considering here today.

Seniors do not want us to kick the can again for another year. The doctor community spoke loudly and clearly yesterday--no more patches. So I say to my colleagues: let's not go down this road again. Instead, let's come together and pass a permanent solution. Let's get the job done. Vote ``no'' on this bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out and I would like to enter into the Record a letter from the American Medical Association and many, many other physicians' groups, as well as State medical societies, in opposition to the legislation.

Let me just read the first paragraph. It is addressed to the Speaker and to the Democratic leader. It says:

On behalf of the undersigned physician organizations, we are writing to express our strong opposition to H.R. 4302, and we urge you to vote against the bill when it is considered on the floor.

Again, that is from the AMA, many specialty doctor groups, and a number of State medical societies.

I would also point out that it is my strong belief--and I know that my chairman of the subcommittee disagrees on this, but it is my strong belief that if this bill passes, that we will not have an opportunity to bring up the larger permanent fix. We will not negotiate that. I doubt very much that that would be the case.

March 26, 2014.
Hon. John A. Boehner,
Speaker, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Hon. Nancy Pelosi,
Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Representative Pelosi: On behalf of the undersigned physician organizations, we are writing to express our strong opposition to H.R. 4302, the ``Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,'' and we urge you to vote against the bill when it is considered on the floor.

Instead of reforming the Medicare physician payment system, Congress seems intent on imposing yet another round of arbitrary provider payment reductions to maintain a corrosive policy that essentially every Member of Congress says should be scrapped. Importantly, by selectively choosing cost savings proposals that were included in the bipartisan, bicameral policy framework set forth in H.R. 4015 and S. 2000, the bill being considered would undermine future passage of that framework and add to the instability that now impedes the development and adoption of health care delivery and payment innovations that can strengthen the Medicare program.

It appears that an unprecedented, bipartisan agreement on Medicare reform is on the verge of being cast aside because elected leaders are unwilling to make tough choices to strengthen programs serving 50 million Americans. We strongly urge Members to vote against this legislation and renew our call for all parties to engage in good faith, bipartisan efforts to enact the physician payment and delivery system reform policy contained in H.R. 4015/S. 2000, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act. The endless cycle of short-term remedies that serve to support a failed policy are no longer acceptable.


American Medical Association; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; American Academy of Dermatology Association; American Academy of Neurology; American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery; American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; American Academy of Sleep Medicine; American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry; American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons; American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American College of Emergency Physicians; American College of Gastroenterology; American College of Mohs Surgery; American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians; American College of Osteopathic Internists; American College of Osteopathic Surgeons; American College of Phlebology; American College of Physicians.

American College of Surgeons; American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Gastroenterological Association; American Geriatrics Society; American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society; American Osteopathic Association; American Pediatric Surgical Association; American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association; American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy; American Society for Reproductive Medicine; American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery; American Society of Disability Evaluating Physicians; American Society of General Surgeons; American Society of Hematology; American Society of Nephrology; American Urogynecologic Society; American Urological Association; College of American Pathologists; Infectious Diseases Society of America; Medical Group Management Association.

National Association of Medical Examiners; North American Spine Society; National Association of Spine Specialists; Renal Physicians Association; Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions; Society of Critical Care Medicine; Society of Gynecologic Oncology; Society of Hospital Medicine; Society of Thoracic Surgeons; Alaska State Medical Association; Arkansas Medical Society; Connecticut State Medical Society; Medical Society of the District of Columbia; Medical Association of Georgia; Hawaii Medical Association; Idaho Medical Association; Illinois State Medical Society; Indiana State Medical Association; Iowa Medical Society; Kentucky Medical Association; Maine Medical Association.

Massachusetts Medical Society; Michigan State Medical Society; Minnesota Medical Association; Mississippi State Medical Association; Missouri State Medical Association; Montana Medical Association; Nebraska Medical Association; Nevada State Medical Association; Medical Society of the State of New York; North Dakota Medical Association; Ohio State Medical Association; Oregon Medical Association; Pennsylvania Medical Society; Rhode Island Medical Society; South Dakota State Medical Association; Utah Medical Association; Vermont Medical Society; Medical Society of Virginia; Washington State Medical Association; Wisconsin Medical Society; Wyoming Medical Society.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), our Democratic whip.


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