Wicker: Senate Misses Opportunity to Protect Medicare for 27,000 Mississippi Seniors

July 9, 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today said the Senate missed an opportunity to fix the Medicare doctors’ reimbursement issue without cutting Medicare benefits to millions of Americans, including more than 27,000 Mississippi seniors.  The Senate passed legislation to stop the scheduled 10.6 percent pay cut to Medicare doctors, but the measure also contains cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, used by 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. 

“The Senate missed an opportunity to pass a more responsible solution to this problem.  Preventing the doctor pay cuts was never the real issue.  In fact, I don’t know of a single member of Congress who supported the cuts.  However, as a matter of principle, I could not support a measure that will eliminate choice and competition for millions of Americans, including 27,000 Mississippi seniors.

Senator Wicker is a cosponsor of S. 2785, the Save Medicare Act, legislation which would have included the same 18-month extension included in the bill that passed today, along with more generous fee increases for physicians.  The legislation included bipartisan changes to make Medicare Advantage more workable without cutting the program.

Yesterday, Senator Wicker joined Senator Cochran on the Senate floor in an attempt to immediately call up legislation that would have provided an 18-month extension of current law in order to avert the doctors’ cuts while providing time to pass a long-term fix to this problem that doesn’t include Medicare Advantage cuts.  Their attempt was blocked by Senate Democrats.