(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to block consideration of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (S. 3101) by a vote of 54-39. The bill, which needed 60 votes to move forward, contained several needed improvements to the nation's Medicare system. Importantly, the bill included a critical provision that would postpone an upcoming reduction in Medicare reimbursements for the next 18 months. Without this fix, Washington state doctors now face a 10.6 % payment cut in their Medicare reimbursement rates which will result in decreased Medicare access for Washington's seniors and disabled residents. The cut will take effect on July 1st if Congress does not act.
"Time is running out to provide doctors with the fair Medicare reimbursements they deserve and today Republicans may have let our last best chance slip away. By voting against this sensible legislation Republicans are driving more doctors out of the Medicare program and reducing access for millions of seniors and disabled residents.
"In Washington state, today's vote will mean that our doctors - who already receive far less than the national average - will find their reimbursements slashed further. It will also mean that rural and underserved seniors will soon find themselves with dwindling options for care."
Read more information on the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act. Information on the Medicare reimbursement is in section 131.
Senator Murray recently joined with U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA 9th) to reintroduce the MediFair Act. The legislation, which Murray and Smith first introduced in 2002, would permanently raise Washington state's Medicare reimbursement rates to the national average and ensures that every state receives at least the national average of per-patient spending.