Casey’s Statement on Medicare Bill

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement today after Medicare legislation was blocked in the United States Senate.  The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, if passed, would have prevented funding cuts to Pennsylvania hospitals and physicians, added critical benefits for older citizens and protected access to care for Pennsylvanians living in rural areas.  

Senator Casey said, “I am deeply troubled that Republicans blocked this critical Medicare bill, which would have made critical improvements for Pennsylvania hospitals, low-income individuals, older citizens, and the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries.  

“In particular, this bill would have extended a formula for Medicare funding to certain hospitals so they could continue to pay health care workers in accordance with wages from surrounding areas.  That provision is crucial in my home area of Northeastern Pennsylvania, where we have perhaps the highest percentage of people over 65 than any other place in the whole country.  We need to fix this wage index problem so that we can recruit the best health care staff and deliver the highest quality care possible.   

“This fight is not over. I am going to continue to work hard to keep the Medicare program strong, ensure physicians and other providers receive fair reimbursements and guarantee beneficiaries have access to the services they need, including very vulnerable low-income Medicare beneficiaries and rural beneficiaries.”