REP. CALVERT VOTES FOR DOC FIX THAT DOESN’T ADD TO THE DEFICIT

November 20, 2009
Press Release

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) voted in support of the Republican Motion to Recommit the Democrat Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act.  The changes would have provided a four year fix to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate for physician payments, preventing a 21% cut physicians are facing in 2010 and replacing it with a 2% increase.  In addition, the motion would have made the legislation deficit neutral, offset by enacting commonsense national medical liability reforms, creating an approval process within the FDA for biosimilar pharmaceuticals, enacting administrative simplifications within the insurance industry and utilizing existing resources within the Department of Health and Human Services.  This motion was defeated on the House Floor, by a vote of 177-251.

Earlier, Calvert also voted to support a Republican proposal which would have provided a two year "fix" to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) mechanism for Medicare physician payments again preventing a 21% cut faced by physicians in 2010 and instead implementing an increase of up to $22.3 billion over two years.  This proposal was defeated by a vote of 177-252.

"Once again, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats prefer to enact over $200 billion in deficit spending rather than make the responsible choice that provides for a deficit neutral offset for the Doc Fix," said Rep. Calvert.  "Furthermore, the Democrat bill fails to address the underlying problem and repeal the SGR.  Instead it rebases the current SGR formula to 2009, a temporary patch that could leave Medicare physicians facing cuts as early as 2011.  In addition, the bill continues to tie physician payment rates to GDP, rather than a medical index, which unfairly punishes physicians when the economy slows.  Rather than enact temporary patches that increase the deficit, Congress should work to enact a permanent solution to fairly reimburse physicians who see Medicare patients." 

Rep. Calvert has consistently voted to prevent reductions to physician payments under Medicare due to the flawed SGR by enacting deficit neutral legislation to prevent cuts and provide increases.  The Republican Motion to Recommit would have offset the cost of the fix and provided Congress with time to enact a solution to repeal the SGR.

By contrast, the Democrat bill, H.R. 3961, did not include offsets.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the cost of the bill at $210 billion.  

• Additionally, senior citizens will be expected to pay $50 billion in increased Medicare Part B premiums, raising the actual cost of the bill to $260 billion.

• However, the true cost must be calculated by removing the budget gimmicks taken by the Administration to produce an artificially lower estimate of the bill.  After true costs are calculated, the price of the bill increases to $279 billion.

• Democrats cut seniors' Medicare by one-half trillion dollars in order to subsidize their government-takeover of America's health care system (H.R. 3962).  Why did they use none of this money to pay-for an SGR fix?  Making matters worse, they spent $425 billion to expand Medicaid, which reimburses physicians 54% less than their average private insurance reimbursement rates.

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