OK, President Bush didn’t quite say that – but he might as well have said that. And, the 62 year old presidnet might have also said it to our seniors.
In the press briefing today, Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto made these comments:
Also, I know I heard from a lot of you after you saw the Senate vote yesterday, after the successful passage of the FISA bill, the vote on the Medicare physician reimbursement bill. As you know, we had a senior advisor’s veto threat out on this bill, and we had a SAP that spelled out all of our objections to this bill. And the questions I know I received were, does the President still intend to veto this bill? And the answer is yes. Our concerns with this bill — actually, let me back off and just talk about — one of the goals of this bill was to ensure that physicians get their reimbursements. If the President want to — wanted to see and wants to see physicians get their full reimbursement. That was never an issue in this whole debate.
What became an issue was how the Senate and how the Congress chose to pay for this bill, and the way they did it was to make very steep cuts in the Medicare Advantage plan. Our view has always been that we trust customers to make — consumers to make smart choices. We want to make sure that they have the information and that they have choices. Taking choices away from seniors in order to pay for the reimbursement for physicians is the wrong way to pass this bill and to extend the reimbursements that we want to see physicians get.
So we’re disappointed in that vote. The President does intend to veto it for that reason. We’re concerned about the impact of that should this bill eventually become law. We expect that one of the impacts of this bill is it will remove about 2 million seniors from a wildly popular Medicare Advantage private plan. We don’t want to see choices being removed from the 9.6 million seniors who are in this program, and our estimates lead us to expect that as many as 2 million seniors will have to drop off the Medicare Advantage program, and that’s the wrong way to do it.
OK, folks – time to pick up the phones again and call your representative and senators and urge them to vote to override Bush’s veto. And remember this in November.