June 12,2008

Baucus Says Senate Vote Shuts Out Seniors

Vote blocks debate on bill that would make Medicare improvements, increase physician pay for seniors’ care

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today condemned a Senate vote blocking debate on the Medicare Improvements for Patients
and Providers Act of 2008, a bill intended to improve the Medicare program for its 44
million senior beneficiaries – particularly low-income seniors and those in rural areas –
and to block a 10.6 percent cut in payments to physicians providing those seniors with
health care. Baucus introduced the Medicare bill last week as the June 30 payment cut
for doctors grew closer, and after months of bipartisan negotiations failed to produce an

“We all know what this vote was about, and it wasn’t about what’s best for American seniors. The White House doesn’t want overpaid private plans in Medicare to lose a single dime. But Congress can’t operate on ideology. We have to come to some fiscally responsible agreement on how to improve Medicare for lowincome and rural beneficiaries, how to keep pharmacies up and running under the drug benefit, and how to keep doctors decently paid for seniors’ care,” Baucus said.
“We owe it to seniors to pass a decent bill that really does something to improve the
Medicare program, and we owe it to taxpayers to find smart savings in Medicare
that cover the cost.”

A staff summary of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act is on the
SFC website at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/legislation.htm. For more information
on key aspects of the bill, such as help for rural seniors and the smart savings that can pay
for program improvements, see http://finance.senate.gov/

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