WASHINGTON – Sens. Joe Biden and Tom Carper (D-Del.) expressed concern that the Senate late last night failed to consider legislation to improve America’s Medicare program serving 44 million seniors nationwide.
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act is supported by 355 House members and more than 200 groups, including the AARP.
But late Thursday, 39 Senate Republicans successfully used a procedural tactic to block this widely-supported Medicare legislation. Failure to pass the bill means physician payments will be reduced by 10.6 percent beginning July 1st, potentially reducing the number of doctors willing to serve Medicare patients.
“We were really disappointed – surprised, actually – that the Republicans stopped us from passing this bill. If we don’t pass this bill, doctors are going to get hit with a 10 percent cut in payments for services to their Medicare patients. That will end up hurting seniors,” said Sens. Biden and Carper. “This bill had overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. GOP tactics at the urging of the White House ended up protecting insurance companies over doctors and patients, which is unfortunate. We expect this outcome will change early next month, after they’ve had a chance to hear from their voters at home.”
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act would increase coverage for preventive health care; pay doctors fairly for their services; enable pharmacies to better serve seniors; and better protect seniors from crooked marketing tactics of Medicare plans.
“Improving care and access to care for our seniors was a top priority in this Medicare legislation, and we are proud this legislation was supported by the entire Delaware delegation. Rest assured, we will continue to work to pass legislation that improves Medicare for 100,000 Delaware seniors, and restore unfair cuts to those who provide health care to the 44 million seniors on Medicare nationwide” added Sens. Biden and Carper.