From John Curry, July 9, 2008
An important vote re. Medicare took place on the floor of the Senate today. If you are now on Medicare, are seeking another MD. to treat you as a Medicare patient or.....are about to go on Medicare, this vote was crucial. Many MD's were worried about taking a 10% "hit" on Medicare reimbursements should this bill fail.
Some MD's (actually quite a few) limit Medicare patients. They were about to drop more Medicare patients or not considering taking on any additional Medicare patients. The healthcare insurance companies didn't want to see today's vote pass because it will also limit some payments to the Medicare Advantage programs.
Well, it is now predicted that this bill will swiftly pass both houses of Congress and will go to the "Great Decider" who has promised to veto this bill. Guess what....he will have this bill overridden! You (and the MD's) will win and the Medicare Advantage programs will loose some of their excessive profits. I'll bet the insurance lobbyists are shedding crocodile tears right now and probably sharing a crying towel with the ceo's of the healthcare insurance companies.
John P.S. How did Ohio's Senators vote? Well, following the news article about today's Senate vote, you will be able to find out with the vote tally!
"One Republican, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, complained that Democrats were trying to ram the Medicare bill through without allowing proper consideration of amendments. But before voicing her complaint, she said she was “thrilled” to see Mr. Kennedy back in the Senate. And she voted in favor of the bill." (Is this called voting your conscience?-John)
Kennedy Casts Key Vote as Medicare Bill Passes
By DAVID STOUT
New York Times, July 10, 2008
Photo: Sen. Edward Kennedy and niece Caroline Kennedy arriving at the US Capitol, July 9, 2008
WASHINGTON — Senator Edward M. Kennedy returned to the Senate on Wednesday for the first time since being sidelined with cancer and was greeted by a bipartisan barrage of whoops, cheers and applause before savoring a legislative triumph.
The starchy formality of the Senate floor dissolved as Mr. Kennedy, the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, arrived to cast his vote on an important Medicare bill. The senator’s presence was considered crucial, since 60 votes were required to advance the measure.
“Aye,” Mr. Kennedy said, flashing a thumbs-up when the clerk called his name. He was one of 69 senators to vote in favor, meaning that the bill has now a veto-proof majority in both Houses.
“I return to the Senate today to keep a promise to our senior citizens,” Mr. Kennedy said in a statement released by his office, “and that’s to protect Medicare. Win, lose or draw, I wasn’t going to take the chance that my vote could make the difference.”
The bill would block a 10 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors because of a statutory formula that reduces payments to doctors when spending would otherwise exceed certain goals. The 69 “yes” votes were 9 more than required to invoke cloture, and under a previous agreement the measure was considered to be approved after clearing that procedural hurdle. The measure had stalled on June 26, falling just short of the 60 threshold.
Mr. Kennedy did not vote on June 26, and how much his dramatic appearance on Wednesday helped to sway sentiment may be debatable. What was certain, though, was that enough Republicans voted “yes” to send the bill through.
Mr. Kennedy’s appearance in the chamber was his first since May, when he was found to be suffering from a brain tumor. Minutes before the vote he was seen walking into the Capitol with his smiling wife, Victoria, by his side. He was escorted into the Senate by Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, and by his son, Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island.
Democratic lawmakers had apparently been tipped off and applauded almost as one when Mr. Kennedy, white-maned at 76, appeared. Their applause was quickly augmented by Republicans, many of whom generally oppose the senator on the issues but have come to respect the legislative skills he has honed in nearly 46 years on Capitol Hill.
One Republican, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, complained that Democrats were trying to ram the Medicare bill through without allowing proper consideration of amendments. But before voicing her complaint, she said she was “thrilled” to see Mr. Kennedy back in the Senate. And she voted in favor of the bill.
The momentary triumph of personal affection over political consideration was evident when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, flashed a big smile at Mr. Kennedy, and another Republican, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, shook Mr. Kennedy’s hand. Both Republicans voted against the bill.
President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, in part because it would reduce payments to private Medicare Advantage plans offered by insurers like Humana, UnitedHealth and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
If the president does cast a veto, it would be overridden if the Senate voted again as it did on Wednesday. The bill passed in the House by an overwhelming 355 to 59.
Before Mr. Kennedy appeared on Wednesday afternoon, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, said: “I look across the aisle at my Republican friends. The 60th vote is there.”
And then some. Eighteen Republicans voted “yes,” as did all 49 of the Senate’s Democrats and the chambers two independents, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernard Sanders of Vermont.
Afterward, Mr. Reid heaped tribute on Mr. Kennedy. “Senator Kennedy showed again today why he is so beloved in our Senate family, why he is the model of public service and an American icon,” Mr. Reid said. “We knew that Senator Kennedy — one of the greatest fighters this body has ever seen — would rise to the challenge and return to work, and what more appropriate time for him to do so than in an effort to protect seniors’ and veterans’ health care.”
David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.
Now...how did Ohio's Senators vote...you might be surprised!
How they voted: Senate roll call on medicare bill By The Associated Press – 2 hours ago
The 69-30 roll call by which the Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would void a 10.6 percent pay cut for doctors treating Medicare patients.
On this vote, a "yes" vote was a vote in favor of the bill and a "no" vote was a vote against it. The bill needed 60 votes to advance.
Voting "yes" were 49 Democrats, 18 Republicans and two independents.
Voting "no" were 0 Democrats and 30 Republicans.
Sessions (R) No; Shelby (R) No.
Murkowski (R) Yes; Stevens (R) Yes.
Kyl (R) No; McCain (R) Not Voting.
Lincoln (D) Yes; Pryor (D) Yes.
Boxer (D) Yes; Feinstein (D) Yes.
Allard (R) No; Salazar (D) Yes.
Dodd (D) Yes; Lieberman (I) Yes.
Biden (D) Yes; Carper (D) Yes.
Martinez (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.
Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes.
Akaka (D) Yes; Inouye (D) Yes.
Craig (R) No; Crapo (R) No.
Durbin (D) Yes; Obama (D) Yes.
Bayh (D) Yes; Lugar (R) No.
Grassley (R) No; Harkin (D) Yes.
Brownback (R) No; Roberts (R) Yes.
Bunning (R) No; McConnell (R) No.
Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) No.
Collins (R) Yes; Snowe (R) Yes.
Cardin (D) Yes; Mikulski (D) Yes.
Kennedy (D) Yes; Kerry (D) Yes.
Levin (D) Yes; Stabenow (D) Yes.
Coleman (R) Yes; Klobuchar (D) Yes.
Cochran (R) No; Wicker (R) No.
Bond (R) No; McCaskill (D) Yes.
Baucus (D) Yes; Tester (D) Yes.
Hagel (R) No; Nelson (D) Yes.
Ensign (R) No; Reid (D) Yes.
Gregg (R) No; Sununu (R) No.
Lautenberg (D) Yes; Menendez (D) Yes.
Bingaman (D) Yes; Domenici (R) No.
Clinton (D) Yes; Schumer (D) Yes.
Burr (R) No; Dole (R) Yes.
Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes.
Brown (D) Yes; Voinovich (R) Yes.
Coburn (R) No; Inhofe (R) No.
Smith (R) Yes; Wyden (D) Yes.
Casey (D) Yes; Specter (R) Yes.
Reed (D) Yes; Whitehouse (D) Yes.
DeMint (R) No; Graham (R) No.
Johnson (D) Yes; Thune (R) No.
Alexander (R) Yes; Corker (R) Yes.
Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes.
Bennett (R) No; Hatch (R) No.
Leahy (D) Yes; Sanders (I) Yes.
Warner (R) Yes; Webb (D) Yes.
Cantwell (D) Yes; Murray (D) Yes.
Byrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Yes.
Feingold (D) Yes; Kohl (D) Yes.
Barrasso (R) No; Enzi (R) No.