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McKeon: 'Democrats simply don’t care how much the deficit grows'

Doc-fix passes House, adds more than $200 billion to deficit

Posted: November 19, 2009 3:21 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2009 3:51 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) issued the following statement today after the House passed the ‘doc fix' legislation (H.R. 3961), which will add more than $200 billion to the federal deficit.

"Republicans believe physicians should receive fair Medicare reimbursements, but the deal Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats reached is not the right solution.

"They are trying - yet again - to fool the American public with the claim that today's bill passage will be a ‘fix' for doctors, when in reality it adds $210 billion to an ever growing national debt.

"For the first time in U.S. history, the country's national debt has hit an unprecedented $12 trillion, and their ‘doc fix' just continues piling that debt on to the backs of our children and grandchildren.

"Pelosi initially pulled the doc-fix from her $1 trillion health care bill, because it would add such an astronomical cost to the already ballooning bill. Now, she is trying to sneak in an additional $210 billion dollars under the guise of a ‘fix.' This makes a clear case that Democrats simply do not care how large the deficit grows."

Below is a summary of Republicans' better solution to reimburse physicians fairly to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to the health care they need in a fiscally responsible way:

• Provide physicians with a two percent Medicare payment rate increase in each of the next four years. This would erase the scheduled 21 percent cut in 2010 and the roughly five percent cuts in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The remaining savings ($26.3 billion) generated by the reforms included in the GOP alternative will be used to address future cuts. At a cost of $210 billion, the Democrats' bill would provide for a 0.8 percent payment rate increase in 2010, but physicians could see their rates cut as early as 2011.

• Avert the scheduled Medicare physician cuts in a fiscally responsible way by including reforms that would fully offset the cost of the bill.

These reforms would:
• Implement comprehensive, meaningful medical liability reform, ending junk lawsuits and costly defensive medicine by protecting doctors from overzealous trial lawyers who are looking to get rich quick (savings of $54 billion; H.R. 1086 introduced by Rep. Gingrey);
• Use existing resources available to the HHS Secretary contained in the "Medicare Improvement Fund," which is designed to improve physician payments (savings of $22.3 billion);
• Create an approval process at FDA for biosimilar products with appropriate patent and market protections that continue to encourage innovation, providing Americans with access to affordable biologics and reducing the cost of health insurance (savings of $5.7 billion; nearly identical to H.R. 1548 introduced by Reps. Eshoo and Barton); and
• Enact health insurance administrative simplification policies, eliminating inefficiencies that unnecessarily drive up health care costs, by creating greater standardization in health care forms and transactions (savings of $19 billion.)

Unlike the Democrats' bill, the GOP proposal would not increase the deficit.


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