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Senate Rejects Medicare Pay Fix

October 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate today voted down a procedural motion to move forward with the Medicare Physicians Fairness Act of 2009. The bill would have undone a physician payment formula for Medicare that was created by Congress in 1997 and has recommended pay cuts for seven years in a row. In the past six years Congress has overridden the formula and blocked the cuts from taking effect. Since Congress hasn’t been willing to let the cuts go through, the amount of the cuts recommended by the formula increase each year. This year, for example, doctors that accept Medicare patients are slated to face a 21.5 percent cut.

The vote count was 47-53 — 13 votes short of the 60 votes that were needed to overcome a Republican-led filibuster. I’ll update with the full roll call details as soon as we have them.

Republicans opposed the bill because it’s costs were not offset. “Americans are increasingly alarmed by the expansion of our national debt and this spending binge that we’re putting on the national credit card,” Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY] said during the debate. But Democrats argue that the Republicans’ opposition is political. Roll Call:

“Republicans believe that they can derail health care reform by defeating the doc fix,” Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “That’s what this is all about. Another way to slow down the process and stop health care reform.”
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  • Anonymous 10/21/2009 1:58pm

    How have Republicans voted in past year?

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/23/2009 3:49am

    I had a typo there that totally obscured what I meant. What I meant was-

    How have Republicans voted on the Medicare pay fix the last six times it came up? Some impossible searching came up with:

    109th Congress – HR 6111 : 2007 factor — it’s complicated
    110th Congress – HR 2449 : 2008 single conversion factor 0.5%
    110th Congress – HR 6331 : 2009 single conversion factor 1.1%
    111th Congress – HR 1776 : 2010 single conversion factor 0.0%

    These bills did many things, so a quick look at the voting record is overly simplistic, but Republican’s didn’t vote overwhelmingly against any of these bills. At worst the support was mixed.

  • betterUSAlessgov 10/21/2009 5:03pm

    I have never been one to think government controls our lives until this moment. We the people of the United States of America have fought for freedom, our ancestors left a life without control, without freedom of religion, without freedom of speech, and taxes. What would they think now that our government is becoming more socialistic everyday? We built ourselves into a corner now that will take trillions of dollars to get us out. The health care reform will not help the average person. Myself for instance will be bearing an increase in my health insurance plan. If this bill passes I will be offered free health insurance right? WRONG. It’s not free with the $4,000.00 tax penalty at the end of the year. What is the point in spending more tax dollars with no benefit for the American people? We the people need to speak our voice because we do have an opinion and we do have control. After all our government works for us, we don’t work for our government.

  • Anonymous 10/22/2009 3:24am

    >>> “Republicans opposed the bill because it’s costs were not offset.”

    Yea, God forbid we “offset” the costs with increased taxes. Were it not that congress gives away our taxes to the bankers and other stupid subsidies and no-bid contracts, perhaps tax increases would be easier to sell. Maybe Mexico and Venezuela have the correct solution. Nationalizing.

  • Clif9 10/22/2009 6:19am

    What’s missing in the health-care debate is the poor physical condition of the average American. Before we do anything to address insurance we should all look in the mirror. Then we should consider that instead of addressing obesity the old-fashioned way, through self-control, we are looking for a pill to take for it. And who will be submitting the cost of the pill as an insurance claim? My fellow Americans, if you really want to show your independence do it by accepting what goes with it – responsibility for what you do. Ask not what insurance will cover, ask what you can do to avoid the need for medical care.

  • Anonymous 10/22/2009 10:49am

    Lets allow Doctors to be doctors. Lawyers have no business making medical decisions or giving medical advice. How many of our Congressional leaders, senators, etc are lawyers or are receiving money from law firms. What companies normally have the tallest buildings when you drive into a big city? (Insurance Companies) Lawyers and Insurance companies are the largest groups of ORGANIZED CRIME in the world. Get up off your hind legs people, offer the politicians the same insurance choices we have and none after retirement.

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