Senate Democrats

Democratic Senators Fight To Protect Medicare For Seniors

Washington, DC—Democratic Senators Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln and Ken Salazar held a press conference today with Dr. Willarda Edwards of the National Medical Association and Merwyn and Barbara Reaves, two Medicare recipients, to call on Senate Republicans to join the effort to pass the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. 

Last month, the House overwhelmingly passed a good bill in bipartisan fashion that ensures Medicare works better for every American senior and saves taxpayers billions of dollars.  All Senators will have the chance this week to stand with seniors as the Senate votes again on the House-passed Medicare bill. 

“Forty-four million American seniors, in my home state of Montana and all across the country, are watching to see if the Senate will do what’s right on Medicare,” said Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  “Seniors want to know whether the Senate will stand for them, or whether some will stand in the way of a good Medicare bill.  Senators should seize the opportunity for bipartisanship and vote for the House-passed Medicare bill this week.  It’s time to stop the squabbling, and to vote for legislation that can improve Medicare and reverse the cut in doctor payments now.”

Said Lincoln: “As legislators, we have a responsibility to ensure the Medicare program is cost-effective to taxpayers and fair for seniors.  If the Senate can act soon, we can avert the scheduled cuts to physicians and other providers, improve access to care for low-income seniors, and improve quality and accountability in the Medicare Advantage program.  It is time for all Senators to work together to put our nation’s seniors needs ahead of insurance companies’ profits and party politics.” 

“Thanks to Chairman Baucus’s leadership and our work on the Finance Committee, we crafted a bipartisan bill that, in the nick of time, would have prevented the July 1 cut to reimbursement rates and averted a health care train wreck for America’s seniors and doctors,” Salazar said.  “Unfortunately, the politics of obstructionism won the day – by a single vote.  I will continue to fight to pass this bill, and I will continue to stand with America’s seniors, families, and doctors.”

Said Edwards: “I am now at the point where I can no longer accept what Medicare pays for my services.  My colleagues at the National Medical Association, from across the nation, in multiple specialties, have been forced into the same corner.  Our overhead – such as office space, payroll, medical supplies and liability insurance – have escalated, while Medicare reimbursement has continued to decline.”

“We’re willing to pay our fair share, but we’re concerned that Congress is going to take action that will discourage people on Medicare from getting the care they need,” said Merwyn Reaves, the Medicare recipient.