Democrats on a key Senate panel ably beat back a number of challenges by Republicans eager to make a conservative imprint on an $856 billion health reform package. Republican amendments to roll back roughly $400 billion in Medicare cuts—more than half coming from the provider community—were shot down by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for being incomplete and off course.
Democrats rebuff GOP challenges on reform
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), a member of the Republican leadership team, said that taken together, those pay cuts would ultimately change the access and quality of care that seniors currently receive. “They have reason to be worried that portions of this bill will adversely affect their care,” Kyl said.
Under a reform package authored by Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), providers of almost every stripe would lose $227 billion in inflationary updates over the next decade. Additionally, another $125.5 billion would be chopped from the Medicare Advantage program in an attempt to draw payments to private health plans on par with those in traditional fee-for-service.
Baucus, however, added a provision that would require the CMS to ensure that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries don't lose standard benefits because of cuts to the program.
Republicans have all along challenged President Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders who say that the health bill wouldn't adversely affect seniors enrolled in Medicare.
Democrats, who hold a 13 to 10 advantage over Republicans, have stiff-armed the four amendments offered so far today by the minority party.
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