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Burgess: Congress needs to stop with the "Hail Marys"
Posted by on March 19, 2021 | comments
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Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), delivers floor remarks opposing H.R. 1868 and seeking support for H.R. 1999

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I rise in opposition to H.R. 1868. Democrats made no effort to work with Republicans on what should be a bipartisan priority –provider relief. I have heard from physicians and hospitals in Texas who have struggled financially throughout this pandemic. This bill turns off statutory PAYGO for last week’s Coronavirus relief package and delays the Medicare sequester until December.

This bill is an excuse to wipe out the scorecard on the fiscal impact of this $1.9 trillion partisan package. Last week, Republicans warned that it would threaten cuts to Medicare, but those warnings fell on deaf ears.

If House Democrats truly cared about meaningful health care provider relief, they would have worked to gain Republican buy-in. Instead, this bill is being shoved through as a Hail Mary before Medicare sequester cuts go into effect in April.

As a physician, I have deep empathy for those whose medical practices are struggling to stay open. I helped many doctors and providers navigate the Provider Relief Fund over the past year. We need targeted relief for the providers that are hurting more than others.

I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1999, an alternative approach that adds $12.3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund and ensures that dollars would flow to providers who have experienced lost revenue or increased costs.

This type of financial relief has already been proven successful. Additionally, this alternative bill ensures that the four percent cut to Medicare providers that was included in the Democrat’s American Rescue Plan Act as a result of statutory PAYGO does not go into effect in 2022.

The American Rescue Plan Act gifted $350 billion to state and local governments that was not justified. Providers are in our state and local communities and are worthy of this funding and should specifically benefit from those state and local dollars. That is why we would like to redirect the state and local funding towards provider relief.

Maintaining a strong health care workforce is critical to the health of this nation during normal times and during public health emergencies. We should work together on the right policy solution to deliver this relief to ensure it stands a chance of passing the Senate. H.R.1999 should be a starting point for those discussions, and I hope we can come to a bipartisan solution.

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