HR 2 – Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act: NO
3/26/2015 - HR 2 – Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act: NO. In 1997, Congress passed legislation to control Medicare spending by establishing a “Sustainable Growth Rate” (SGR) that limits the annual increase for physician reimbursements, but Congress never had the stomach to actually implement it. The result: every year Congress passes a “doc fix” to avoid the accumulated SGR cuts, often by cutting spending in other areas. This bill does away with the SGR altogether, which would be a good thing if it were actually offset by equal spending reforms. Regrettably, it isn’t. Instead, it adopts some minor “means testing” for Medicare recipients (essentially a tax increase for wealthy seniors), but still manages to run up another $141 billion of debt over the next ten years, at a time our country is reaching catastrophic debt levels. Nor is it likely that Congress will actually implement these “reforms,” since they don’t take effect until 2018 and 2020, and the Rules Committee voted down my amendment to have them take effect immediately. Finally, I resent that House leaders attached unrelated measures to this bill, including vital Secure Rural Schools funding, which should be supported on its own merits.