December 18,2007

Senate to Consider Medicare Legislation Ensuring Physician Payments for Six Months, Helping Rural Seniors Receive Health Care

Baucus, Grassley intend to pursue larger Medicare reform legislation in early 2008

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today unveiled Medicare legislation for consideration by Congress this
week. The legislation will stop a ten percent cut in Federal reimbursement of Medicare doctors
for six months and provide a half-percent update in payments, and will extend a number of expiring provisions vital to seniors’ care under the program. In particular, measures to ensure
rural seniors’ access to care will be continued. The bill also extends authorization for the
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through March 31, 2009, and extends funding for
Transitional Medicaid Assistance and special diabetes programs. The bill is expected to cost
approximately $6 billion, and the cost is fully offset with provisions noted in the printer-
friendly version of this release.

“This bill takes needed, immediate steps to shore up Medicare by restoring physician
payments and ensuring seniors’ continued access to health care in rural areas. But next
year, Congress must move boldly to improve Medicare for America’s seniors. There’s more
that Medicare can do for low-income and rural seniors,”
Baucus said. “The CHIP extension
in this bill will maintain health coverage for more than six million children who currently have it, but I will keep working to reach more low-income, uninsured American children through that vital program. In 2008, it will also be time to change Medicare in a smart and fiscally responsible way, serving both the seniors who use Medicare and the taxpayers who fund this vital program.”

 “This bill includes essential policies for the government to make sure doctors can continue
to treat Medicare beneficiaries and to preserve health care services in rural areas of the
country. It’s a six-month extension that serves as a stop-gap until Congress can take care of
the important Medicare business that got backed up this fall,”
Grassley said. “The package
we’re presenting today also tells states what they need to know for the year ahead as they
administer the children’s health insurance programs that low income families with children
rely on. The longer extension of SCHIP will allow Congress to enter the new year with a
renewed focus on reauthorization while also providing funding certainty to states.”

A summary of the proposed provisions and offsets can be found in the printer-friendly
version of this release.

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