What: All Issues (H.R. 4213) Passage of legislation blocking a 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled to take effect on June 1. (2010 house Roll Call 325)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

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(H.R. 4213) Passage of legislation blocking a 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled to take effect on June 1.
house Roll Call 325     May 28, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on passage of legislation blocking a 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians (known as the physician payments “fix”) scheduled to take effect on June 1. The Democratic leadership had decided to divide H.R. 4213 into two different sections, each to be voted separately.  The first vote was on all provisions contained in the bill except the Medicare physician payment “fix.” (Those provisions included an extension of unemployment insurance and tax credits for small businesses.) The second vote (this vote) dealt exclusively with the physician payments. This strategy allowed members to vote in favor of extending unemployment insurance, and against blocking cuts in physician payments, or vice versa.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) urged support for the measure: “I want to urge my colleagues to vote for the part of this legislation that would update the SGR [sustainable growth rate – the government’s formula which sets Medicare payment rates for physicians], which is the payment for physicians under the Medicare program. It's absolutely critical to do this if we are going to keep doctors in Medicare and keep the promise to Medicare beneficiaries that they will have access to physicians' services.…If we don't act, doctors' fees will be cut by 21 percent from where they are today. This would be unconscionable.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued that House action on blocking a pay cut for physicians was an empty gesture, since the Senate had already adjourned for its week-long Memorial Day recess and would not vote on the measure. He contended the bill “is not going to benefit America's doctors, because the Senate went home.  June 1, doctors get their pay cut…. Do you know what happens when you hold a check in a one- or two-doctor office for two weeks? That doctor doesn't have a paycheck at the end of their month, their margins are so tight.”

The House passed the Medicare physician payments measure by a vote of 245-171. 230 Democrats – including a majority of progressives – and 15 Republicans voted “yea.” 156 Republicans and 15 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation blocking a 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled to take effect on June 1.

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