House’s Dr. Bera: SGR reform is "how Congress is supposed to work"
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan, historic package to restore certainty to our seniors and to Medicare physicians, and to end the decade-long cycle of annual “doc fix” patches, repealing and reforming the flawed Medicare payment system known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Congressman Ami Bera, M.D., one of a handful of doctors in Congress, made the following statement:
“As a doctor who’s cared for many seniors who rely on Medicare, I know how important it is to strengthen and protect the promise we’ve made to our parents and grandparents. For more than a decade, though, the financial uncertainty caused by the broken payment system that Washington created has threatened Medicare’s future and left many doctors no choice but to reduce the number of Medicare patients they see. Today’s bill will not only end that and help seniors on Medicare get the care they need, but it also has the potential to transform how we deliver health care, improving it while lowering costs and protecting Medicare for the long term. Under SGR reform, no longer will our seniors’ care be about how many tests and procedures they order or how much they charge. Instead, it will be about patient outcomes: fewer repeat hospital visits, higher patient satisfaction, and fewer medical errors, to name a few.
Of course this bill isn’t perfect. Like many, I am disappointed the Hyde Amendment was included. I have always stood against the Hyde Amendment and any other attempts to restrict a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions. The Hyde Amendment is a temporary rider that expires every year, and I – along with many people across this country – look forward to the day when it will end.
But I came to Congress to work with my colleagues, regardless of party, to solve this country’s toughest challenges and to put the people of Sacramento County before politics. This bill is a good agreement and a great example of that kind of bipartisan work. It also includes many important health provisions for women and families. Because of this legislation, 7.4 million patients will still have access to care at community health centers, and 8 million low-income children and pregnant women will still have care through CHIP, the children’s health insurance program. In addition to that, the bill includes the same provisions as the PRIME ACT, a bill I’ve sponsored and fought for because it curbs fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid and saves taxpayers money.
After years of inaction and gridlock, and 17 short-term patches over the last decade, I’m proud a broad, bipartisan consensus on reforms to give seniors access to quality has finally been reached. This is how Congress is supposed to work. Now that this bill has passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, I hope the Senate will do the right thing and vote yes on this bill to secure Medicare for today’s seniors and the next generation.”
Bera has represented Sacramento County in Congress since 2013. Born and raised in California, he is a physician and the only Indian American currently serving in Congress. He’s fighting to rebuild an economy that works for middle class families and to reduce our country’s debt in a responsible way. One of Bera’s first acts in Congress was to help lead the effort to pass the No Budget No Pay Act, which says if members of Congress don’t pass a budget, they don’t get paid. As a leader of the No Labels' Problem Solvers, he’s working with people from both parties to find bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges. He and his wife Janine live in Elk Grove with their daughter Sydra. For more updates on Rep. Bera follow @RepBera on Twitter, like Congressman Bera on Facebook, or visit http://www.bera.house.gov.