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June 24th, 2008
Grijalva Supports Medicare Improvements

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, by a vote of 355 to 59. This legislation will, among other things, prevent the 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments to physician due to take effect on July 1. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement:

“I am proud to vote in support of this bill, which would provide a moratorium on the payment cuts that are proposed to go into place next week. Knowing that we are in a health care crisis, to put in place the payment cuts would only hinder health access throughout southern Arizona.

“It is clear that this moratorium on the physician payment cut is not solely to stop the negative impact on doctors, but to ensure that the thousands of Medicare patients continue to receive their necessary care. In addition to the moratorium, the bill makes key improvements to Medicare that will improve service and access for underserved areas.

“Among the improvements is an elimination of the drug benefit penalty, affordable mental health care, assistance to help low income seniors and people with disabilities navigate Medicare, extend and protect access to rural communities, protect access to necessary therapy services, and postpone the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) competitive bidding program.

“This is a short term fix. We have a responsibility to invest in Medicare, which provides essential services to those that need it most. A lack of investment in our healthcare is short sighted – we must look for a long term fix.

“The House has passed this moratorium and other necessary Medicare improvements before, only to be stalled in the Senate. The vote today sends an overwhelming bi-partisan bill to the Senate. The Senate should not delay or deter this important bill, so that it can be sent to the President to be signed and go into effect on behalf of the health of our community.”

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