Saturday, April 04, 2015
Billy Long: House plan strengthens Medicare
After 17 years of patching the old inner tube, on March 26th the House did the right thing and put on a new tire. We said enough is enough on such an important issue for our seniors and passed a permanent fix to Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), known as the “doc fix.” The House passed legislation to permanently repeal this flawed formula and replace it with a plan that strengthens Medicare, providing our seniors with better care.
The SGR was enacted in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act and has been a chronic source of concern for physicians who serve seniors. Consistently recognized as an imperfect solution rewarding quantity of services over quality of care, Congress has repeatedly implemented a temporary “doc fix” to prevent substantial Medicare reimbursement rate cuts, which could result in fewer physicians serving Medicare patients.
By an overwhelming vote of 392 to 37, the House passed a permanent solution to fixing the flawed SGR. The legislation establishes the first real structural reform to Medicare in nearly two decades without increasing taxes.
I urge the Senate to pass this legislation so Congress can once-and-for-all be done with the short-term fixes to the SGR. I hope this legislation can serve as a model for future legislative efforts to reform our nation’s programs without increasing the tax burden on Americans.