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DeMint Opposes Bill That Cuts Health Care for 2.3 Million Seniors

July 10, 2008

DeMint Opposes Bill That Cuts Health Care for 2.3 Million Seniors

Legislation represents “a big step toward socialized medicine in America”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) opposed a bill that will force 2.3 million seniors, including over 65,000 seniors in South Carolina, to lose their private health care coverage under Medicare.  The measure, which passed 69-30, contains a measure Senator DeMint supports to restore a 10.6 percent cut in the reimbursement fees that doctors receive for treating Medicare patients. The legislation will now go to the President’s desk where he has threatened to veto the legislation. 

“This vote represents a big step toward socialized medicine in America,” said DeMint.  “I’m ashamed that the 69 senators, including many of my own party, voted to raise premiums and lower quality of care for over two million seniors. Medicare Advantage has been very popular with seniors, but the Senate just voted to gut the program and force seniors onto government-run plans.”

“I have always supported restoring the Medicare reimbursement fees for doctors, but I cannot support a bill that hurts so many seniors and their access to quality care. Unfortunately, Harry Reid was able to convince the AARP and the AMA to spread false attacks against the principled opposition to this bill. But I will not be swayed by politicians using government power to buy the support of special interest groups to pass bad policies and gain political advantage.”

The bill, H.R. 6331, makes deep cuts to private fee-for-service plans under the popular Medicare Advantage program.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 2.3 million seniors nationwide, including over 65,000 seniors in South Carolina, will lose their private health care as a result of this legislation.

Medicare Advantage, which has rapidly gained popularity with seniors across the country, provides a higher quality of care for lower premiums than tradition fee-for-service Medicare.

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries receive on average $96 per month, or more than $1,100 a year, in additional benefits above traditional Medicare.  These benefits can include prescription drug coverage, coverage for catastrophic illness, and routine physicals.

Medicare Advantage plans utilize coordinated care management, which is central to reducing long-term health spending.

Currently, over 9 million seniors have voluntarily signed up for Medicare Advantage.

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