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Rep. Young Votes For Responsible Medicare Reimbursement Fix

Washington, D.C. - Alaskan Congressman Don Young voted Nov. 19 in favor of the Republican alternative to H.R. 3691, the Democrat's "Doc Fix."  The Republican alternative would provide physicians with a 2% Medicare payment rate increase in each of the next four years; would erase the scheduled 21% cut in 2010 and the roughly 5% cuts in 2011, 2012, and 2013; and would avert the scheduled Medicare physician cuts in a fiscally responsible way by including reforms that would fully offset the cost of the bill.  Unlike H.R. 3691, the alternative would not increase the deficit.

"I fully support fixing the formula by which Medicare doctors are paid (the Sustainable Growth Rate), but it should be offset by curbing other spending rather than leaving the responsibility for a future generation to finance," said Rep. Young.  "The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that H.R. 3961 will cost $210 billion with no offsets for the funding AND that it would raise seniors' Medicare premiums by nearly $50 billion over ten years.  With no way to fund the bills that keep coming before us, we are breaking the bank. 

"The Majority is repeatedly trying to pass quick fixes to add notches to their belts, without thinking of the damage being done to future generations and to our economy.  I absolutely believe that Medicare should reimburse physicians fairly to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to the health care they need.  We are having an especially big issue with this in Alaska, and it needs to be fixed sooner rather than later.  But we can and need to do it responsibly and not haphazardly, and that is why I voted for the alternative."

The Republican Alternative would avert the scheduled Medicare physician cuts 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)
  • Use existing resources available to the Health and Human Services 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)
  • 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).

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