June 12th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama urges Congress to prevent cuts to Medicare docs

Washington (CNN) - President Obama used his weekly internet and radio address to urge Congress to block an automatic 21 percent pay cut for doctors who participate in the Medicare program.

(Read Obama's full remarks after the jump)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Weekly Address
Washington, DC

More than a decade ago, Congress set up a formula that governs how doctors get paid by the Medicare program. The intent was to slow the growth of Medicare costs, but the result was a formula that has proposed cutting payments for America’s doctors year after year after year. These are cuts that would not only jeopardize our physicians’ pay, but our seniors’ health care.

Since 2003, Congress has acted to prevent these pay cuts from going into effect. These votes were largely bipartisan, and they succeeded when Democrats ran Congress and when Republicans ran Congress – which was most of the time.

This year, a majority of Congress is willing to prevent a pay cut of 21% - a pay cut that would undoubtedly force some doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients altogether. But this time, some Senate Republicans may even block a vote on this issue. After years of voting to defer these cuts, the other party is now willing to walk away from the needs of our doctors and our seniors.

Now, I realize that simply kicking these cuts down the road another year is not a long-term solution to this problem. For years, I have said that a system where doctors are left to wonder if they’ll get fairly reimbursed makes absolutely no sense. And I am committed to permanently reforming this Medicare formula in a way that balances fiscal responsibility with the responsibility we have to doctors and seniors. In addition, we’re already taking significant steps to slow the growth of Medicare costs through health insurance reform – not by targeting doctors and seniors, but by eliminating 50% of the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system by 2012. This not only strengthens Medicare, it saves taxpayer dollars.

I’m absolutely willing to take the difficult steps necessary to lower the cost of Medicare and put our budget on a more fiscally sustainable path. But I’m not willing to do that by punishing hard-working physicians or the millions of Americans who count on Medicare. That’s just wrong. And that’s why in the short-term, Congress must act to prevent this pay cut to doctors.

If they don’t act, doctors will see a 21% cut in their Medicare payments this week. This week, doctors will start receiving these lower reimbursements from the Medicare program. That could lead them to stop participating in the Medicare program. And that could lead seniors to lose their doctors.

We cannot allow this to happen. We have to fix this problem so that our doctors can get paid for the life-saving services they provide and keep their doors open. We have to fix this problem to keep the promise of Medicare for our seniors so that they get the health care they deserve. So I urge Republicans in the Senate to at least allow a majority of Senators and Congressmen to stop this pay cut. I urge them to stand with America’s seniors and America’s doctors.


Filed under: Congress • Medicare • President Obama
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ib

    Duh; wasn't this in Obamacare that was rammed down our throats and now he wants to change it. It shouldn't have been there in the first place. Oh I know he comes out with this so he can blame the GOP for cuts in medicare like Clinton is doing on the campaign trail. By the way before you far lefters come after me I usually vote a split ticket in almost every election. In case you don't know what a split ticket is I vote for the person not the party ( vote for both democrats and republicans; plain enough for you) and boy did the people mess up with this president.

    June 12, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. GI Joe

    I think they should cut the amount of money we pour into Israel, and the money we pour into Iraq for their medical, before we cut the benefits paid on behalf of our senior citizens.

    Cut out excesses to the wars that "JUST HAD TO BE STARTED" by our Cowboy President years ago. Support our troops in what they need, and bring them home ASAP.

    June 12, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. MatthewDetroit

    Barack is a two face liar.

    It is his programs and policy that are killing medicare.

    His new health program CUTS even deeper into medicare.

    Its time to CUT medicaid. ITs also time to have standards for how people qualify for social security and medicare.
    PEOPLE MUST work and people must contribute. NO free lunch.

    TOO many people take advantage of Social security. You should have to work for 30 years and you should not be allowed to take funds until 75. Time to raise the standars.

    We are broke and this president is making it worse. By his own budget we will be 19Trillion in debt by 2015. We are at 13Trillion now.
    STOP SPENDING you idiot.

    June 12, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. James

    The article clearly states that the 21% pay cut has been scheduled to go into effect for years. Each time it come ups, Congress has blocked it. Obama had nothing to do with the 21% pay cut, it was in place long before he even became a Senetor.
    And just what has Obama done wrong to say that "the people messed up with this president."? The Economy is coming around sooner then anticipated, more americans will have access to cheaper health care, and the right wing religous zealots are not controlling my life, I am perfectly happy with the way Obama has ran this country.

    June 12, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Pat in IL

    The main thing Medicare needs is streamlining and oversight. They deny coverage for so many things that it's almost worthless....even though so many of the things they deny are clearly state in their handbook each year that they are covered. The paperwork that it takes to fix these errors is enormous and confusing – then a year later they say "oops" and cover it. This is after you've gone to collection and everything else!

    June 12, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. ruty

    Can you people not read? He is trying to STOP the medicare cut . It seems, it is damned if you do and damned if you don't. Wake up people, this man is ttrying to help you. Are you too stupid to understand? Oh, by the way, this is coming from a Republican. Just thought you might like to know. I try to help our president, no matter who he is. You might try that pratice. Out country will prosper more if we pull together. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?

    June 12, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Patty Patriot

    Another obama lie – he was all for this with his obamacrud no health care plan that he shoved down our throats. Instead of cutting social security for people who work all of the lives and pay into it lets cut it for illegals and STOP funding union retirement benefits who get almost the same pay as their salary was and can retire at 55 yrs. of age. A large portion of the social security recipients are working till age 70 and a large portion of those are then taking part time jobs.

    Please obama stop it with the ridiculous lies and to the news medias please bring back honest and true journalism.

    June 12, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Mark

    Obama doesn't want to pay for it just borrow from China

    Worst ever

    June 12, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. FrankGinIL

    The Medicare fix is real simple – do it – we spend billions every day (rightfully so) to attempt to keep our Country safe from terrorists, "dangerous" adversaries, yet we'll let millions of Americans suffer medically as we "lack" the funds. A dead American is a dead American be it from a horrific act such as 9/11, or neglectful health care. The argument(s) that waste/efficacy issues pervade some of these programs or that they cost more than anticipated is not sufficient reason to let our fellow seniors suffer.
    There are a lot of programs that need fixing, but same should not come at the expense of the elderly.
    And if we needed health reform (a separate discussion), why new 2000 + page(s) document when possibly the existing framework(s) of either Medicare, VA or Congress's program could have been expanded/rewritten to cover all?
    It’s no longer a matter of left v. right, Democrats v Republicans, Tea Party ideologues or other political factions – a real reform of Congress and the whole legislative process from lobbyists to other outside power interests need to be considered – watch CSpan (not the opinion cable news channels) for a few evenings – it is mind boggling regarding the dialogue and the inane lack of productivity exemplified in the legislative process, committee and sub-committee hearings.
    And this annual Medicare Cost review is emblematic of all that is wrong with the process. Yeah, I know, I vented all over the place. 🙂

    June 12, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. ajax

    The Obamacare healthcare plan recently passed excluded the "DOCTORS FIX" that would have taken care of this problem.Now,Obama calls on a vote to increase spending to solve a problem created with the passage of that bill.One of the things people have been saying for some time is that doctors will stop taking medicare patients if they can't recover their true cost of treating those patients.The democrats have decided to attach this fix to a popular bill that increases the tax oil companies pay into a spill liability fund in order to get it passed.The reason being is they don't want to take the blame for seniors being tossed aside by their doctors for a problem that they created by not including it in the healthcare legislation that they passed.

    June 12, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. John in Dallas

    "I’m absolutely willing to take the difficult steps necessary to lower the cost of Medicare and put our budget on a more fiscally sustainable path. But I’m not willing to have those steps go into effect during my presidency. Democrats must remain in power as it is we who know best, not the American citizenry."

    June 12, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Zaggs

    This has to be the biggest lie ever told. The reason Obamacare was not supposed to add to the deficit was because of the medicare doctors cut remaining IN PLACE. Obama and the democrats did everything possible not to have the Doc Fix scored with Obama care. Luckily Paul Ryan was smart enough to ask the CBO to score Obamacare with the doc fix and what did the CBO say? That with the Doc Fox Obama care would add 50+ billion to the deficit.
    A permanent Doc Fix was the bribe paid to the AMA to support Obamacare in the first place.
    By the way, whatever happened to the vaunted PayGo rules?

    June 12, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. james

    lol remember he was going to cut 500 billion from medicare to his new obama care bill and of course he didn't add the doctors fixs in the obama care bill. here the smoke and mirrows. now how much do you think its going to cost the government for obama care. or should i say cost you and other taxes payers

    June 12, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Mike in SA

    Sooooo...why wasn't this addressed in your health insurance legislation?

    Also Mr. President, the idea that we should continue down the same wrong-minded path because that is what we did in previous years is just plain ludicrous. In case you haven't been listening, clean out your ears...we actually WANT change in Washington, just not the orgy of spending that you've brought.

    June 12, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Willy Brown

    Well don't raise taxes for your dumb Obamacare bill and will have money to pay those doctors

    June 12, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. thor

    Why is Obama spending 400 million in aid for housing,school construction, and business development in Palestinian territories after his meeting with their leader Abbas?Especially,when we have so many needs at home !!!

    June 12, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. annie s

    Please do NOT blame Obama or the the Health Care Bill for this. The cut in Medicare payments is based on a formula that has been in place for years. Of course, the Republicans will vote against changing the formula structure because by allowing the reimbursements to decline, they can convince dumb Americans it was due to the Health Bill.

    June 12, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. malabar

    healthcare bull is his undoing. its bogus. hillary or sum1 else will challenge him frm the left in 2012 giving way to a repub victory regardless of how serious the challenge or how far the challenger gets. lefties dump on me all u want, u fear it will come 2 b. i knw this bcuz i usd to vote dem. slander, hate, prejudice, smears- all the go-to's 4 dems, anythng but truth.

    June 12, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. doug

    Two thousand pages of health care reform,ONLY the Lobbyists read it. My President knew dam well that doctors would be screwed/ sacrificed for his plan. So now, who needs doctors? You better have plenty of cash when you need a doctor, your government has already abandoned you and your used to be plan. I am voting him out.

    June 12, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Ann

    why is this another issue to discuss? why isn't it covered by his 'historical' health care legislation? what the hell does that legislation cover?

    June 12, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Larry

    I agree Mr. President.

    What has to be stopped, though, is the abuse and fraud in the system. Double and triple billings for the same procedure. I've been a victim of double billings by doctors myself.

    Out of the $3 trillion spent annually it is estimated that $1 trillion is fraud and waste. That is the part that needs to be cleaned up.

    June 12, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. BeverlyNC

    We need to keep fair Medicare payments to doctors. As we move away from the abusive private insurance companies and towards humane, common sense medical care for all Americans, we will need a strong system of Medicare payments that are fair and trusted.

    Medicare is the most efficient payment provider in the nation. Their overhead is 4% while the greedy worthles insurance companies is more like 30%.

    We have no use for insurance companies. They are nothing more than middlemen who stand between us and our doctors and make decisions on who will get treatment and who wil live or die. They withhold payments to doctors as long as possible to see if we will just pay them ourselves. They are immoral and inhuman and unnecessary to our healthcare system.

    Keep Medicare payments even with the standard treatment rates and be fair to doctors. They are our heroes and we need to stand up for them and all they do for us.

    June 12, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Albert

    So it is the Republoican Party who wnats to unplug grandma.

    June 12, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. rachel

    I hope people see right through this. We knew there was a reason this doc fix wasn't put in the healthcare bill it would have increased the costs and most of the dems know it so they try and do it by it's self. It's a scam. Can any body on here explain why this wasn't in the bill? you know the reason cause we would have gotten the true costs.

    June 12, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Texax-Lousianna-Mississippi-Alabama = Red states turning Black with oil

    Why do republicans hate doctors?

    June 12, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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