Congressman Slams Medicare Cuts He Voted For Three Times

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The congressman tapped by Republican leaders to attack Obamacare’s Medicare cuts in the party’s weekly address voted for the same cuts three times.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) slammed the reimbursement cuts to private insurers under Medicare Advantage as a “breach of faith” and deeply damaging to seniors. Rooney voted with most Republicans to make the cuts permanent in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budgets in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Ryan’s budgets in each of those years sustained the full $716 billion in 10-year Medicare provider cuts (which also hit hospitals and nursing homes), and his party didn’t make much of a fuss about them. Democrats used the funds to finance new spending and coverage provisions under Obamacare, while Ryan’s budgets used them to cover his tax cuts and meet his deficit reduction targets.

“To help pay for his health care law, the president made deep cuts to the successful Medicare Advantage program, which serves nearly 30 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries,” Rooney said. “I’m hearing from seniors in my district who have already lost their doctors. Constituents tell me they can no longer see the primary care physicians they have been going to for ten and even twenty years. One woman told me that four of her specialists have already been dropped from her plan.”

A Rooney spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans are gearing up to make Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare providers an issue in the November congressional elections, as they did in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Rooney went on to describe the impact of the Medicare cuts in dramatic detail.

Another [woman] shared with me the story of how her husband lost access to the cardiologist he’s been seeing since his heart surgery five years ago.

In Florida’s heartland, seniors are now forced to drive an hour or more just to see a primary care doctor, let alone a specialist.

And across the country, millions of seniors are now paying more money for fewer choices, less access and far less peace of mind.

This goes well beyond a glitch or a pocketbook issue.

This is a breach of faith.

Watch Rooney’s weekly address, which went up on YouTube over the long weekend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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