June 12th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
12 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. Ancient Texan

    AnnieS- Yes, BUT they used the 21% (or $500 Billion) cut to show a lower total for the cost of the disastrous Obamacare mess that the majority of Americans want reversed and replaced.

    June 12, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Targar

    Matthew, your mom and dad can be used to wipe the president of the United States shoe. I know thats how your parents brought you up with no respect for any one but youn can learn to respect the office of the president .

    June 12, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Peter s

    Mr President! with all respects when will you and your fellow democrats come to realize that, a typical republican will burn the house to cook an egg? then say see I told you!!! Obama will set the house on fire!!! and the 72% of the un educated or un informed Americans will believe the Republicans because thats the hymn the song sang by Fox news and Rush limbaugh day in day out!. When will Democrats start telling the American people the whole truth that, fox pays its alliagiance to the oil Sheiks of Saudi Arabia while mis leading the public! time to call on mudoch and his hidden agendas towards this Nation!!!!

    June 12, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Andy

    It is finally coming to light to many people throughout our nation that the biggest problem in all of this has been us. For too long we've been taking the quick and dirty approach to fixing our nations problems. Instead, we need to take the long view for the problems facing us today. We've been unwilling to make sacrifices that would benefit us in the future for the quick fix sugar rush today...the bill is coming due and we need to sacrifice a number of things to get back to even. Taxes must be raised and entitlements reigned in. In order to receive benefits, you must be funding them in the first place. Our nation's infrastructure is in a dismal state of disrepair because it is not popular to raise taxes or spend on projects that we may not get direct benefits from. POPULISM has run amok and we're going to have to pay for it sooner or later. The further we ignore these issues, the harder the fix will be.

    June 12, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. james

    put it off till after November, or obama can take it out of the 500 billion cuts in medicare for the obama care bill he forced down our throats

    June 12, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Indiana Voter

    @GI Joe,

    You are anything but a GI Joe. GI Joe's are patriotic and heroic. You show by your words that you are neither of those. Get a life and stop blaming everything that happens in the world on Bush. You are sounding more childish with each passing day.

    June 12, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Steve in North Carolina

    Oh please Congress, please don't cut the overchanging of Medicare by the Medical community! Those poor Doctors need to have their unfettered supply of government money while 10 percent of our nations is unemployed!

    Give me a break!

    June 12, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Remember the Alamo

    This is one more ignorant wishy-washey President that this country has ever had. He firstr introduces a medical bill that will destroy most medical functions now he wants to come back and salvage the medicar cuts to Doctor's pay. These same Doctors who will not see medicare patients in the first place. This is all protection not for the doctors but for the bulk of his supporters. This is what you get out of this lazy man. He is now after destroying relations with Israel trying to destroy relations with our oldest allie. DO YOU NOT THINK THIS MAN HAS AN AGENDA OTHER THAN HELING AMERICA. IN THE FIRST PLACE CONGRESS I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN NOT EVEN INVESATIGATE THIS MAN WHO IS AN IMPOSTER. HE IS A NON-CITIZAN OF AMERICA. HE WAS BORN IN KENYA.

    June 12, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Jim El Paso Tx

    All these goof balls bitching about these cuts to doctors need to remember...99% of you will be on medicare sooner or later an will play hell finding a doctor that will take care of you.

    June 12, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. rpfisher

    Obama hasn't been able to fix all the problems our country faces during his first 18 months of office, often blocked by vigorous Republican efforts to stop him and congress at every turn from making any significant effort at doing so. So what does everyone want to do? Let's vote him and his affilliates out of office and put back the very people that created and promoted the problems in the first place. America, we have met our enemy, and it is our own arrogance and stupidity,

    June 12, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When the President talks about higher taxes for the rich Republicans start ranting for the rich. Republicans don't give a D... about seniors, children or the poor, it's all about big insurance and lobbyist payoffs and the rich. This is a disgrace.

    June 12, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. D.

    The party of NO can not / will not change their direction at this course in politics.They have little interest in helping if it just might look like President Obama might get a small amount of credit- they don't play well with others.

    June 12, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. DENNA

    Please stop saying that Obamacare was 'rammed down our throats'. He promised us health care reform, we voted him in to accomplish it, now we have it. He kept his promise as he promised the majority he would. Once again, the MAJORITY OF VOTERS VOTED FOR HIM ON HIS PROMISE OF HEALTH CARE. HE DID NOT RAM ANYTHING DOWN OUR THROATS. After 8 years of the uncaring Rethug party running this country, it's nice to have a president with heart.

    June 12, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Ivan-AZ

    I love how people are too ignorant to realize the president is trying to actually HELP us...man its really disheartening to read SO many comments of peoples disapproval and questioning of our President...nothing WRONG with questionong BUT where the HELL were all of you back in 2001-2004??? Seriously imagine where we would be if citizens and our legislators ACTUALLY questioned Bush, Cheney, and his administration...probably could've saved our country trillions but no fear was guiding everyone instead of their brain...and now we'er paying for it. Well I'll just go on record of saying this if people are too blinded to see when a person has the ENTIRE country's best interest at heart then they don't deserve ANY of his help or his administrations attempts to advance this nation lets just let the GOP run the country I'm sure we'll all be MUCH better off.....

    June 12, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Michael

    Medicare doctors should be paid more, not less. This is the only time and place in human history where medical treatment has been a commodity; this is inhuman.
    It is time to hang the medical-corporate CEOs by the guts of the insurance CEOs; then the doctors can get back to work healing the sick.

    June 12, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. John Smith

    You republicans only care about your own check books and self-interest. This president is picking up the pieces that past presidents have left shattered before him. I bet you didn't complain when this issue was presented to George Bush (the worst president in recent history. Who was a republican I might add). Bush left 8 years of screw ups that Obama and his administration has to try and fix and you people complain about every move that Obama makes. I don't know if its racism or if people are just plain stupid about what this country really needs. Everyone wants to be president and has an answer but can produce no real solution. He's doing the same thing that past presidents have done with this issue but yet your coming for Obama's head. Everyone thinks about what's best for them and their situation instead of what's best for this country. Obama is trying to make sure your grandma,grandpa, mother, father etc. can see a doctor. Are you people so dumb that you can't see that he's trying to help us. There's critics who talk about the healthcare bill (aka "the Obamacare"). When all this bill does is help millions of Americans afford healthcare. The only way our country is going to become stronger is if we stop pointing the finger and actually start coming up with real solutions. Right now, big government is what we need. Because guess what? Everyone doesn't have a 6 figure bank account or 401k retirement plan. Everyone's so worried about the national debt. Let things work itself out. These people who are labeled "economist" aren't all saying our econmy is screwed. Let's not be nieve.

    People are so insensitive and blind that they only look out for their own self-interest. Its easy to say "get a job"..."Work"..."Earn a living". But its not that easy for millions of Americans. And yes, Obama has made a lot of promises during his campaign but that doesn't mean he will not live up to those promises. There's something called "circumstances" and when he took office there were circumstances that presented themselves that the president had to address the best way he could. Those decisions may not be the most popular and it may go against what he said during his campaign but things change. I believe that Obama will deliver on the promises that he made. I just think people thought that we elected a magician and things were going to magically change. Its going to take time (More like two terms and then some) to get this country back on its feet. Nonetheless, Americans need to show some faith in the man that they popularly elected. Everyone is always looking for a quick fix. But the issues that this country face is going to take time to fix and Americans need to sit back and be patient.

    June 12, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    So, in order to con people into supporting Obamacare, Obama promises to save money by cutting what few docs who accept Medicare will br paid. Now that the suckers have been successfully conned, he's perfectly comfortable breaking that promise in order to appease the docs.

    Truly slimy.

    June 12, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. mj

    He knew this existed and was going to happen. Now at the 11th hour he is trying to look like the "Savior". This should have been addressed in the Obama Health Care fiasco. Doctors are already cutting medicare patients. Our own Family Doctor is accepting no new medicare patients. This was announced when the Obama plan was passed. What does that tell you?

    June 12, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. jh

    This is a classic case of wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

    Obama jammed healthcare through under the premis that doctors would have a 21% decrease in reimbursement. This assumption helped to "decrease the cost of medicare" and decrease the cost of his bill.

    Now, he wants to "fix" this reimbursement problem to ensure that the healthcare legislation doesn't blow up in his face (which it will when doctor's start to shut there doors on medicare patients).

    You can't get something for nothing. Not ever. All of us who work (rich and poor) will pay dearly for Obamacare– prepare for 5% medicare tax and VAT taxes on "luxuries" like soda pop. Thanks Barack! See you in the bread line!

    June 12, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    This cut was in place way before President Obama's healthcare plan. Of course, the party of NO is going to use it against him because they want him to fail and they still haven't found the magic potion.
    Got to give it to them. The repugs don't give up easy.

    June 12, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. German,Irish,American

    The debate is over, we now have the dumbest, most incompetant President in the history of the US. All he is able to do is cause diversity by reading the teleprompter words provided by someone else. He was obviously to stupid to read and understand the healthcare bill he signed, then like the spoiled child he is, he tries to blame someone else. Another one of the direct Medicare cuts he signed into law with Obamacare has already taken effect, the denial of mamograms to women on Medicare. Death panels already taking place under Obama?

    June 12, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Donkey Party

    Is it painful being as utterly and completely stupid as IB and Patty Patriot? Don't you two have some Teabagging to partake in somewhere? Wretched self-loathing piles of misery.

    June 12, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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