H.R.6331 - Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008

To amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to extend expiring provisions under the Medicare Program, to improve beneficiary access to preventive and mental health services, to enhance low-income benefit programs, and to maintain access to care in rural areas, including pharmacy access, and for other purposes. view all titles (7)

All Bill Titles

  • Popular: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 as introduced.
  • Official: To amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to extend expiring provisions under the Medicare Program, to improve beneficiary access to preventive and mental health services, to enhance low-income benefit programs, and to maintain access to care in rural areas, including pharmacy access, and for other purposes. as introduced.
  • Short: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 as introduced.
  • Short: Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 as passed house.
  • Short: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 as passed house.
  • Short: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 as passed senate.
  • Short: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 as enacted.

Comments Feed

  • Anonymous 07/10/2008 9:00am

    I thought congress was going to look over this bill again yesterday. Did that not happen? I sure hope it did because cutting Medicare reimbursement another 10.6% would be terrible for our elderly citizens and doctors throughout the country!!
    - TR

  • Anonymous 07/10/2008 12:16pm

    Passed the Senate on July 9. President has promised to veto, but there are likely enough votes to override.

  • Anonymous 07/11/2008 5:06am

    I am curious why President Bush would veto this? What is his problem with this bill?

  • Anonymous 07/11/2008 12:25pm

    The problem is, this bill would substantially cut the funds paid to private insurance companies that sell “medicare advantage” plans. These are plans sold by private insurance companies that administer the Medicare benefits with out of pocket expenses that are significantly lower than original Medicare coverage for Medicare beneficiares. Passage of this bill could cause plan premiums to raise to levels many seniors won’t be able to afford. Unfortunately, what congress is viewing as the alternative to this bill is another bill that proposes cutting payments to doctors by as much as 10%. This is also not a good idea because if this happens many doctors will simply stop seeing people with Medicare. If that happens, it won’t matter if these people have coverage or not, they simply won’t be able to access medical care as easily as they do now. There are cuts that can be made that can effect savings, however these cuts won’t work.

  • ParityFanatic 07/12/2008 4:09am

    This legislation would stop any reduction for physician reimbursements for care provided under traditional Medicare. Approximately 80% of medicare subscribers are enrolled in traditional medicare.
    The insurance industry is direrctly involved in Private Fee for Service Medicare Advantage plans. It appears these plans have been quite profitable to the industry & the industry objects to ANY legislation that would REDUCE payments to the Medicare Advantage plans. Many objective observers believe Medicare Advantage plans cost the Medicare program more than traditional medicare pays for physician patient care.
    This legislation attempts to deal with the inequality in cost to Medicare & shift some of that increased cost to Physicians to avoid a decline in payment to physicians under traditional medicare.
    I would also suggest that Congress examine the need to STANDARDIZE medicare advantage plans being offered. We have standardization in traditional Medigap plans that makes it possible for the consumer to make intelligent choices among the many medigap providers.
    Under the PFFS Medicare advantage program it is currently impossible for consumers to compare plans due to the lack of standardization.

  • Anonymous 07/13/2008 10:37am

    Medicare Advantage Private Fee For Service is just one type of Medicare Advantage plan, and by all appearances, the one that spoiled the system because many of the plans have benefits that are only slightly better than original fee for service Medicare, and yes, it costs the government more than oringal Medicare. Part of what this legislation is doing is adding provisions that would make the PFFS plans more cost effective…however those same provisions are essentially turning them into something that already exists, Medicare Advantage PPOs and HMOs, plans with proven track records of delivering benefits better than original Medicare in a cost effective manner.
    Standardization of Medicare Advantage, like so many other “solutions” sounds good on the surface, however the purpose of have Medicare Advantage plans is to deliver choices to seniors that help them meet their own personal health care needs. Standardization could limit choices.

    Another consideration would be to limit the amount of money Medicare Advantage plans can pay to insurance agents and brokers in commission. With the advent of the PFFS plan came enormous commissions, more than ever paid for a Medicare plan before. Much of what PFFS plans were paid by the government in the first month of a beneficiaries coverage under the plan was paid out in broker commissions. A limit of $20 per member per month, or $250 flat sum per application would be a reasonable amount to pay to insurance producers, and would put more money into the plan itself, which would allow for more generous payments to medicare providers. This in turn would make health care more available to all seniors.

  • Anonymous 07/13/2008 2:09pm

    Jump to: navigation, search
    For the 4 Non Blondes song, see What’s Up (song).
    For the Boston, Massachusetts street newspaper, see Whats Up Magazine
    What’s up? is an informal question meaning, depending on situation and emphasis: “What are you doing?”, “How are you?”, “What is happening?” or “What gives?” It is sometimes used as an informal, casual greeting in itself. This expression was made popular by the cartoon character Bugs Bunny who used it as early as 1940 as part of his catch phrase “What’s up Doc?” (where each word was pronounced distinctly).

    Whassup (sometimes spelled Wussup or wassup) is also a commonly used African American Vernacular English term of the same meaning. It was the central theme of an advertising campaign for Anheuser-Busch owned “Budweiser” beer brand in the early 2000s.

    The phrase is often shortened to “sup”, and this term is commonly used as internet slang.

    It also sometimes but very rarely used to mean “nice to meet you”

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    “sup”
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    “waz up”
    “waz^”
    “wts up”
    “wts new”
    “waz happenin”
    “WUZZAH!!”
    “wuzzup”
    “whussup”
    “wuzzgoinon”
    “wattup”
    “Zappening”
    “Zup”

    [edit] See also
    What’s Up, Doc?
    What’s Up Fox

    [edit] External links
    Look up what’s up in
    Wiktionary, the free dictionary.A video of a myna bird at Honolulu Zoo imitating human speech, including several instances of “What’s up?”
    “What’s up” at Urban Dictionary
    Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What%27s_up%3F”
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  • Anonymous 07/15/2008 6:58pm

    HR 6331 pased!!!! 40-26 4 non votes

  • Anonymous 07/16/2008 8:29pm

    This is a letter I sent to Senators who voted no on HR 6331:
    Dear Senator,
    As a physician, citizen of the United States, and a father, a son, and husband, I would like to personally reprimand you for violating the trust of those who elected you to office by prioritizing the agenda of your party and cronies rather than the health and well-being of your constituents in your action regarding HR 6331. Despite you and your partisan fellow’s attempts to block it, and your unending stall tactics, the collapse of the medical system in America has been postponed temporarily by the members of Congress who are loyal to those they are supposed to serve.
    Most people, including physicians and politicians, do not fully appreciate the impact that a cut in Medicare reimbursement will have on the delivery of medical care in America. Nearly all insurance companies base their reimbursement upon some percentage of the Medicare rate: refusing to care for Medicare patients is not only unethical and anathema to our commitment; it is a pathetic and futile gesture that will do nothing but harm the populace and tarnish the image of the medical community. Reducing the Medicare reimbursement rate will essentially reduce every physician’s gross income across the board by the same percentage as the cut. As most physician’s overhead expenses range from 50% to 80%, a 10.5% reduction in reimbursement will decrease physician net income by 55% to 73%. Physicians are currently fairly well compensated, although our incomes relative to inflation have dropped more than 25% in the past 20 years while other professional incomes have increased. Despite this, there are very few physicians who will be able to weather a precipitous 70% decrease in income. Downsizing in a failing economy is unfeasible; selling the SUV and the million-dollar house are not options in this economy, and the inevitable outcome will be mass bankruptcy for most of the physicians who work in our cities. Rural physicians, with more modest incomes and lower overhead, will fare better, but many will succumb. Physicians who began their practices before 1985, who remember earning twice as much at the start of their practice, will retire in droves. The physicians who remain will have no choice but to try to get by, strapped with upside-down urban mortgages and monumental education debt. Rural physicians will no longer be able to transfer their sickest patients to tertiary care centers in the city: there will no longer be doctors on staff there. Most physicians work more than 60 hours a week currently. Attempting to take care of two to three times as many sick people, and having to try to manage a rapidly growing number of severely ill patients beyond their level of competence will crush the remaining physicians in short order. The United States, once home of the world’s gold standard of medical care, will become a medical wasteland.
    It is already difficult to get medical care. My mother, who is 72 and has supplemental insurances in addition to Medicare, languished for 3 days in California hospitals before an Orthopedic Surgeon could be found to come to the hospital to reduce her dislocated hip. The Orthopedic Staff at the hospital where my mother was had dropped from 5 to 3 in the previous 12 months, and none of the remaining staff Orthopedists accepted Medicare. I seriously considered flying in from Texas, getting temporary privileges, and reducing my mother’s dislocation myself. I knew, however that this would be impossible as Medicare will not reimburse hospitals for services rendered to a family member, and treating family is against hospital policy for that reason. We asked for my mother to be transferred to a larger hospital where Orthopedic services would be available, but when she arrived there the situation was the same. This was not in a small town in the middle of nowhere: this happened in a community 40 miles from Los Angeles.
    I implore you: look inside your heart to see if there is any desire to serve the people of the United States rather than your party and the special interest groups to whom you are beholden. If so, PLEASE attempt to redeem yourself by immediately applying the energy you exerted trying to shoot down Representative Rangel’s attempt to do the right thing to finding a permanent, workable solution to the Medicare crisis. Physicians have answered a calling—that calling came with a promise of community respect and a comfortable life for both the physician and his family, to compensate for long hours, 10-13 years of expensive secondary education, and constant exposure to deadly diseases and spurious lawsuits. Do not think that doctors will continue to answer the call if those promises are revoked. A 20% cut looms in only 18 months. Physicians all over the country are very upset that this disaster was not diverted until the last possible minute. Imagine how you and your family would feel if you had a heart attack, and the doctor stood by, dictating medical records, until 4 minutes had passed (the point at which irreversible brain and organ damage occurs), and only then started resuscitation. Our professional lives, and the ACTUAL lives of every citizen of the United States, are at stake here, Senator. If you can’t find it in you to work for the good of America and try to make it right, you might at least just abstain next time a vote comes up, like Senators McCain and Obama did.
    Sincerely,
    Steven G. Ballinger, M.D.

  • Anonymous 07/17/2008 4:47am

    As a lifelong Republican I’m ashamed and dismayed by President Bush’s veto and my two Republican state senators McConnell and Bunning for voting against the bill as well. However, thanks to a strong grassroots effort, espcially by AARP that veto was overridden. Thank God our system of government still works occassionally! I am definitely going to reconsider my Party affiliation after this one.

  • Anonymous 07/22/2008 2:45pm

    Did members of Congress know that Lincare, ROTECH, the Scooter Store and Option Care, providers in the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Contract Suppliers Manual for Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach-FL had all been charged with Medicare fraud by the OIG? When did we start rewarding companies for bad behavior…the problem with our government is lifetime politicians. We need to limit terms and then we may see truly realize change in our country.

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  • Anonymous 07/31/2008 12:23pm

    Pass HR6331 NOW!!!

  • Anonymous 08/13/2008 3:59pm

    When will it take affect?

  • Anonymous 01/03/2009 7:52am

    I agree that Medicare Advantage plans should have standardization,just like the medicare supplements did 20 years ago. There are very few medicare beneficiaries able to understand the various plans and comparison shop. Often, they sign up with the plan with the cheapest premium as that is what the agents or insurance companies hype. They are dismayed to find out that they are left with large copays and co insurance in a major health situation. Also, I think all mediare advantage plans and mediare plan d plans should be offered for sale October 15st to November 30th. December of each year should be the time they receive their new id cards and welcome kits. This would give 30 days to resolve any enrollment problems so that their insurance is intact on January 1 of the next year. And all beneficiaries should be mailed a complete list of medicare d plans, premiums, and copays in their state so they can make a decision each year. Most clients are just not savvy enough to search the government website. It is slow and often inaccurate when it comes to making a good financial decision on a plan. I think ALL medicare d plans should be standardized. Same formulary, same tiers for all prescriptions in that formulary.


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