Monthly Archives: October 2009


Thanks to everyone who called, faxed and e-mailed about S.1776 – the powerful lobbyists of the AARP and AMA were handed defeat on this Health Care Bill. It had the potential to be a real future problem.

Medicare doctor pay plan hits Senate snag


By Donna Smith Donna Smith – 2 hrs 1 min ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A proposal to boost Medicare payments to doctors ran into trouble in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as Republicans and some Democrats balked at adding $250 billion to skyrocketing U.S. deficits over the next decade.

Senator Richard Durbin said Democratic leaders lack the votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the 100 member Senate. “We don’t have 60 votes,” said Durbin, the second leading Senate Democrat. “We need support from Republicans.”

Democratic leaders had hoped for a quick vote this week on the Medicare proposal, a move that would help build support from doctors and the elderly for a sweeping healthcare reform plan backed by President Barack Obama.

Republicans argued that the bill by Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow would add to soaring deficits and did not go far enough to make sure that future payments to doctors from Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, keeps up with increases in the cost of living.

“That increase should at least keep pace with inflation, or we’re not going to have enough physicians available to treat Medicare patients,” said Republican Senator Jon Kyl.

Also some Democrats, including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, oppose the bill because it does not include any measures to offset the cost at a time when the U.S. budget deficit has reached a record $1.4 trillion this year.

Without congressional action, doctors treating Medicare patients would face a 21 percent cut in payments next year because of what critics say is an outdated payment formula.

For years Congress has been approving temporary “fixes” to avoid Medicare cuts to doctors but has not tackled a permanent solution because of the impact it would have on long-term budget projections.

Stabenow argued it was time to do away with the outdated payment formula and lay the groundwork for a new reimbursement system, which under the proposed healthcare reform would reward quality of care and not just the number of services performed.

Durbin said Democratic leaders thought they could count on some Republican support for the Medicare proposal and accused the opposition party of using the issue to try to derail the broader healthcare reform.

“That’s what this is all about,” Durbin said. “It’s another way to slow down the process and stop healthcare reform.”

Republicans said they support boosting Medicare payments to doctors, but oppose adding so much red ink to the deficit — $300 billion over 10 years when interest costs are taken into account.

“I thought this whole healthcare debate was about getting costs down, and yet the majority wants to begin with a bill that would add $300 billion to the deficit,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.


Stealth Senate Health Care Bill S-1776 To Pass Next Week

On Tuesday, October 13th, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced S.1776, the “Medicare Physicians Fairness Act”. The bill would repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that is currently used to establish annual Medicare physician payment updates.
Senate Bill 1776 would wipe away $240 Billion of the Medicare deficit to allow Congress to eliminate some of the real debt of the Medicare program with the stroke of a pen. The promise of a new, but yet undefined, Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula appears to be a trade off to the AMA and AARP. This Bill appears to be a part of the overall strategy to pass Obama Care. It has been further reported that the Democratic Leadership is pushing a critical vote on a motion to waive the budget act with respect to the bill. Back in June when the AMA and AARP came out in support of Obama Care, it seemed very odd to most Americans that these groups would join together. Many are suspicious of the “Fast Tract” of this bill that is unknown to the public. It may be one of the Trojan Horses which will be used to pass Obama Care by paying off the AMA and AARP.
While this bill may be innocuous, it neither passes the “smell test” nor the “Transparency Test” that Americans desire. Health Care is at least a ways from passing. Why the critical nature of this Bill NOW – next week
This Bill, S 1776 MUST BE FILIBUSTERED until its ramifications become clear to the Senate and the Public. Please Contact All Republican Senators and Conservative Democratic Senators.