News Releases

Senate Republicans Refuse to Fix Medicare Reimbursement Rates; WA State Doctors and Seniors to Pay the Price

Jun 26 2008


(Washington D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after Senate Republicans again refused to allow the Senate to consider the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 6331). The legislation contained several needed improvements to the nation's Medicare system including a critical provision to postpone an impending reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates. The vote to consider the bill failed 58-40. The legislation required 60 votes to move forward.

The legislation represented the last opportunity to avoid a 10.6 % reimbursement payment cut that will now be imposed on doctors beginning July, 1st. The physician payment cut will result in fewer doctors accepting Medicare and decreased Medicare access for Washington's seniors and disabled residents.

"Senate Republicans have let the clock run out on Washington state's doctors, seniors, and disabled residents," said Senator Murray. "Today's vote means longer drives, closed doors, and fewer choices for seniors who have spent their lives paying into the Medicare system.

"For Washington's doctors, this is yet another blow. Our doctors should never be forced to choose between staying in business or taking Medicare patients. Yet today that is exactly the choice Senate Republicans gave them. By refusing to pass this fix, they have forced doctors into refusing care for their patients."

Read more information on the legislation that was defeated today. 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.