Intense lobbying by the Texas Medical Association, the Texas
Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC), and their
member physicians paid off this afternoon as Texas Sens. John
Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison joined 67 of their Senate
colleagues in reversing the 10.6-percent cut in Medicare physician
payments by a vote of 69-30. The margin is large enough to protect
it from President Bush's threatened veto. The vote proved once
again that physicians can make a difference when they make their
voices heard in Congress.
TMA President Josie Williams, MD, said Texas physicians "want to
commend the courage and wisdom" of both Senators Cornyn and
Hutchison "who voted for their constituents - our patients - today.
Our Texas senators listened to their patients and physicians and
reversed the 10.6-percent physician Medicare cuts that went into
effect July 1. We cannot thank them enough for standing up for our
The bill the Senate approved, House Resolution 6331, has already
passed the House of Representatives by a veto-proof 355-59 margin.
- Stops the 10.6-percent cut, continues current rates for the
rest of this year, and provides an additional 1.1-percent
increase in 2009;
- Gives Congress 18 months to devise a long-term replacement
for the Sustainable Growth Rate financing formula, as we demand
- Extends the Geographical Practice Cost Index, which protects
physicians practicing in most of Texas; and
- Provides parity for Medicare mental health benefits and
increases coverage for preventive services.
Senators Cornyn and Hutchison originally voted against the bill
when it came up just before Congress recessed for the July 4
holiday. That prompted an angry response from physicians across
Texas who flooded their offices with e-mails and telephone calls
demanding they change their votes and protect senior citizens'
access to care. "TEXPAC harnessed the collective voice and
coordinated and executed the teamwork that paid off for today's
vote," said Manuel Acosta, MD, chair of the TEXPAC Board of
"The U.S. Senate got it right today," Dr. Williams said.
"Physicians of the Texas Medical Association applaud Congress,
especially our two Texas senators, for voting for elderly patients,
military families, and persons with disabilities."
Dr. Williams said, "TMA continues to call for a long-term
solution to fix Medicare's flawed physician payment formula, and we
applaud Senator Cornyn and Hutchison for calling on all the members
of the Senate to put aside their partisan infighting and devise a
permanent long-term solution. With the additional time now afforded
Congress, there is no excuse for not working on a bipartisan
solution to protect Medicare beneficiaries and their
Last Updated On
August 29, 2010