President George Bush vetoed H.R. 6331, which maintains Medicare payments to medical providers yesterday, including physical therapists, on fiscal and ideological grounds.
In his message to the House of Representatives, Mr. Bush states the following:
"This bill is objectionable, and I am vetoing it because:It would harm beneficiaries by taking private health plan options away from them; already more than 9.6 million beneficiaries, many of whom are considered lower-income, have chosen to join a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, and it is estimated that this bill would decrease MA enrollment by about 2.3 million individuals in 2013 relative to the program's current baseline.It would undermine the Medicare prescription drug program, which today is effectively providing coverage to 32 million beneficiaries directly through competitive private plans or through Medicare-subsidized retirement plans.It is fiscally irresponsible, and it would imperil the long-term fiscal soundness of Medicare by using short-term budget gimmicks that do not solve the problem; the result would be a steep and unrealistic payment cut for physicians -- roughly 20 percent in 2010 -- likely leading to yet another expensive temporary fix; and the bill would also perpetuate wasteful overpayments to medical equipment suppliers."
After the veto H.R. 6331 was sent back to Congress...
"The House passed this legislation by a 383-41 vote and by a 70-26 Senate vote. A two-thirds vote was needed by the House and the Senate to override the Presidential veto. Once the Senate voted to approve HR 6331, it now becomes law immediately. (LA Times)"
Private practice physical therapists are obviously happy.
My practice would have seen a dramatic decline in cash flow from Medicare.
We staff our office with physical therapists and physical therapist assistants specifically because Medicare patients need that level of expertise (most Medicare patients are elderly).
I might have had to lay off staff.
Nevertheless, the president is right when he says the following:
"...it would imperil the long-term fiscal soundness of Medicare by using short-term budget gimmicks that do not solve the problem; the result would be a steep and unrealistic payment cut for physicians -- roughly 20 percent in 2010 -- likely leading to yet another expensive temporary fix..."
I posted my solution on July 1.
Let's hear from you.
Can we help fix (at least) physical therapy in the health care system?
Post your comments.