President George W. Bush vetoed a bill, which Congress quickly overrode, that would stop a 10.6% cut in Medicare payments to physicians and boost them 1.1% next year. Many Republicans opposed the legislation because the money to pay for it would come from more than $12 billion in reserve to pay private insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage. Supporters estimated that without the money, 60% of the country’s doctors would have to limit the number of new Medicare patients they treat. Was Congress right to override the veto?
Medicare, along with Social Security and Medicaid, are actually bankrupt and riddled with waste. Recently, it was discovered that Medicare paid $92 million in drug prescriptions written by doctors who were dead when the prescriptions were written. Continuing to cut payments or raise taxes are only short-term solutions that will prolong this problem rather than solve it. We must implement a complete reform and dramatic change in these programs if they are to survive. The Medicare Advantage program has the opportunity to be a part of the change that could save Medicare by providing an element of competition in pricing, which currently does not exist. I understand the issues with which some doctors are dealing. But, it makes no sense to cut a potential long-term solution to fund something that will accelerate the unsustainability of these programs. Therefore, I opposed this bill when it was on the floor, and I voted to sustain the president’s veto.
REP. JOHN CAMPBELL
Campbell votes against veterans’ benefits every chance he gets. While House Resolution 6331 is a “Medicare Bill,” Campbell’s “nay” vote, and Bush’s veto, cut the medical benefits payable under Tricare to relatives of active-duty military personnel, military retirees and their dependents. This is because Tricare uses the Medicare fee schedule to pay doctors. Reducing Medicare reduces Tricare payments, making it more difficult for military families to find doctors.
Bush and Campbell oppose HR 6331 because it takes federal payments away from insurance companies and pays them to doctors.
Our troops and doctors are on one side, insurance companies on the other — I chose to support those who serve us.
Again, Campbell and Bush chose the wrong side.
Democratic candidate, 48th Congressional District