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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    House Votes Cut for Medicare Insurers, Not Doctors


    The Democratic-backed measure passed today, 355-59, giving supporters more than the two-thirds margin that would be needed to override a threatened veto by President George W. Bush. The Senate has yet to act on similar legislation.

    Doctors who treat Medicare patients will get a 10 percent cut in their payments on July 1 unless Congress finds money to make up the difference. Democrats want to reduce payments to UnitedHealth Group Inc., WellPoint Inc., and other insurers that provide benefits through a program called Medicare Advantage. The companies get, on average, 13 percent more than it costs Medicare to offer services itself, according to a congressional advisory commission.

    ``This is a reasonable compromise that both Democrats and Republicans should support,'' said Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, on the House floor. ``With less than a week to go before the impending physician cuts go into effect, it is time to put politics aside.''

    Private insurers would receive about $12.5 billion less under the House measure than otherwise projected over the five years through 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Medicare has said insurers will collect $86 billion this year caring for about 10 million of the U.S. program's 44 million beneficiaries.

    Teaching Hospitals

    The measure would phase out payments made to insurers to reflect the higher cost of having their patients treated at teaching hospitals, according to the budget office analysis. Payments made directly to such hospitals for the same purpose wouldn't be affected.




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