Levin Floor Statement on H.R. 2, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act

Mar 26, 2015 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act:

A year ago, our committee, alongside the Energy and Commerce and Senate Finance committees, reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to move Medicare physician reimbursements from one based on quantity to one based more on quality.

This helped pave the way for the package in front of us today, negotiated with the help of Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi.

The SGR has been hanging over our heads for more than a decade. We have paid close to $170 billion in short-term patches. And with each patch, it becomes harder to find offsets, putting seniors and our health care system increasingly at risk.

This is being done while maintaining the basic structure of Medicare. Talk otherwise is mistaken.

Our approach to paying for this reform is a reasonable one – we are paying for additional benefits, but not to dig out of the hole created by the flawed budget formula.

This package includes a number of improvements across the health care landscape.

  • It fully funds a two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program at the increased level of funding that we included in the Affordable Care Act.
  • It permanently extends the Qualifying Individuals program that pays Medicare premiums for low-income seniors.
  •  It permanently extends the Transitional Medical Assistance program, which helps Medicaid beneficiaries transitioning back to work to keep their insurance.
  •  It secures $7.2 billion in funding for community health centers, ensuring that 7 million Americans that depend on these establishments for care can get it.
  • And it makes progress in fighting fraud and abuse in Medicare.

This package is the product of honest, bipartisan negotiations. It has the support of a broad range of organizations – from hospitals to physicians to beneficiary organizations. I appreciate all of the hard work that has been put into this package by the Members and staff of the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees, as well as Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi.