Mar 26, 2015

House Takes Important Step to Save Medicare

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in favor of a bipartisan bill to end the “doc fix” and take an important step toward Medicare reform.

Excerpts of McCarthy’s remarks, followed by the full speech, are below, or watch them here:

“But today, the House will vote on a bipartisan bill to end the cliff for good, stop the cycle, and most importantly, provide stability to the Medicare program for the seniors and their doctors. This is a big moment for Congress, and I think we should all realize it. The bill before us today will once and for all repeal and replace the flawed Medicare physician payment system. It will move us away from volume-based care to care based on quality, value, and accountability.”

“Today marks the first step of what I hope will be many more to save our safety nets from collapse and to ensure it for a future generation.  These reforms are permanent. They are bipartisan. And they lay the foundation for a Medicare that lasts.”

“After this vote today we will go back to our districts. We’ll go back to our districts hopefully in a different thought, in a different time. That yes, we can solve a problem. Yes, we can pick a problem that has lasted over a decade that every Congress before it has kicked it down the road, but no, we found common ground. We found the ability to come together to solve something that many believed we could not.”

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Thank you. I’m reclaiming my time. I thank the gentleman for his words, and I hope all that are watching today, that this is a pattern of what works inside Washington. 

“You know, in Washington, Mr. Speaker, there’s a common cycle. You have a problem, you kick the can down the road. You hit a cliff, then you rush to a short-term ‘fix’ that doesn’t actually fix the problem. Then the cycle starts all over again.

“This isn’t a good way to govern. With this cycle, problems usually get worse. And a lot of times, the short-term ‘fixes’ get packed [with] add ons that increase the size of government and cost people more and more.  

“You know, we’ve seen that with this doc fix again and again—17 times over the last decade. Every single year I have served in this body—less than a decade—that’s been the solution—to kick the can down the road.

“But today, the House will vote on a bipartisan bill to end the cliff for good, stop the cycle, and most importantly, provide stability to the Medicare program for the seniors and their doctors. 

“This is a big moment for Congress, and I think we should all realize it. The bill before us today will once and for all repeal and replace the flawed Medicare physician payment system. It will move us away from volume-based care to care based on quality, value, and accountability.

“Everyone knows that we need to reform programs like Medicare to save it for the future. But for so long nothing has been done in this House. That is, until today.

“Today marks the first step of what I hope will be many more to save our safety nets from collapse and to ensure it for a future generation.  These reforms are permanent. They are bipartisan. And they lay the foundation for a Medicare that lasts. 

“We wouldn’t be here to make all these big reforms without a lot of hard work. First, I want to thank the Doc Caucus. There were many times I was in a meeting with frustration wanting to find a solution. And the first place to find a solution is policy. And they spent their time together to find that policy. Then it was how are we going to pay for it and how can we move forward. That’s where the leadership of chairmen and chairpeople come through: Fred Upton, Paul Ryan.

“They not only help build with the Doc Caucus; they led their own committees. Today, when this vote is taking place, it’s going to be different than others. People aren’t going to sit and watch the sides to wonder whether it gets there and how close does it pass. People are going to watch how overall big [the] vote is going to be.

“After this vote today we will go back to our districts. We’ll go back to our districts hopefully in a different thought, in a different time. That yes, we can solve a problem. Yes, we can pick a problem that has lasted over a decade that every Congress before it has kicked it down the road, but no, we found common ground. We found the ability to come together to solve something that many believed we could not. We hope the Senate will see the same value.

“But today is a good day. But today should not be the last day. We should look for the other problems—and there are many—of the ways that we can solve them permanently, like we will do today.”

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