Now Farris, let’s not turn this issue into a marathon debate between Democrats and Republicans because I assure you the Democrats will win. -Andre
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to override President Bush’s veto of H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. The bill and this veto override was championed by leaders of the Ways and Means Committee, of which Rep. Lewis is a senior member. Though, he was in Georgia today awaiting the results of the primary, Congressman Lewis has been a long-time, staunch defender of Medicare and the continued need to preserve the integrity of the program. If he had been in Washington today, he would have voted with other members of the House in a bi-partisan accord to override the President’s veto.
“By overriding the President’s veto,” said Rep. Lewis, “the U.S. House of Representatives took a first step, among others that must follow, to preserve, protect, and improve the Medicare system. As representatives of the people, we have a moral obligation to do what is right, what is fair, and what is just. We must not cut payments to physicians. We must defend access to healthcare for seniors, the disabled, and others beneficiaries of Medicare. While we are spending billions of taxpayer dollars in Iraq for little gain, we could be using those valuable resources to secure the lives of millions of Americans. I applaud the work of my colleagues today who came together in a bi-partisan fashion to take a stand for the people of this nation.”
At issue has been an increase in Medicare reimbursements to physicians. Many doctors have been providing service to Medicare patients while risking their own financial solvency due to recent cuts in government reimbursements. Without this increase, thousands of seniors and disabled Americans would have lost access to medical care. The bill increases payments to doctors by 1.1 percent and stops a mandated 10.6 percent cut in payments. This legislation is fully funded primarily through reductions in overpayments to the Medicare Advantage Indirect Medical Education program and adjustments in the fee-for-service program.
The bill also includes aspects of two pieces of legislation Rep. Lewis introduced, H.R. 1193, the Kidney Care and Quality Education Act, which addresses issues related to end stage renal disease, and H.R. 552, the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.