Last week the U.S. Senate was unable to vote on HR 6331, The Medicare Improvements for Patients Providers Act. The Senate voted 58-40 to cut off debate and take up the bill, but they were two votes shy of what was needed.
What does this mean? If the Senate vote to cut off the debate ended up 60-40, the Senate would have been forced to vote on the bill. Instead, the Senate debated endlessly (filibuster) until they finally adjourned to go home for the entire next week. Because of this inaction, payments for physicians who treat Medicare recipients were cut by 10.6 percent on July 1st.
C3’s concern is that doctors may begin refusing to take anymore Medicare patients if the cuts remain. Since the average age for a person diagnosed with colorectal cancer is 67 years old, Medicare is a serious issue for us.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Majority Leader, left the door open to take care of the issue when the Senate gets back from its Independence Day recess. Presumably the cuts will be reversed, but as everyone knows firsthand, things do not always go the way you think they are going to in Washington.
Reid scolded the Senators who had blocked action on the bill. This is the same bill that earlier had passed the House by a veto-proof margin of 355-59. “We’ll be back, and you’ll have another opportunity to vote for this,” Reid said, “During the next 10 days, think about how you’re going to vote on this next time.”
Reach out to your Senators and urge them to vote in favor of HR 6331, The Medicare Improvements for Patients Providers Act. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your Senators’ offices. If you do not know who your Senators are, click here to find out.
Failure of this bill could result in serious hardships for Medicare beneficiaries.