Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015by Representative Bill Pascrell Jr.
Posted on 2015-06-18
PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly rise in opposition to the
Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act. It was critical that the
Affordable Care Act (ACA) included the cutting edge delivery and
payment reforms that it did. But, I have never believed that the
Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be effectively able to
fulfill its stated mission of cost containment. I have concerns with
how IPAB will operate and that it gives up important Congressional
authority over payment.
For these reasons, I am a proud cosponsor of this bill, but once again, the House Republican majority has decided to kill the bipartisanship of this bill with a controversial pay-for. My Republican colleagues continue to prove that they would rather have an anti-ACA talking point rather than a real solution.
Since the Affordable Care Act became law, my home state of New Jersey has received more than $20 million for evidence-based programs to prevent heart attacks, strokes, cancer, obesity, and smoking from the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Fund. This bill, as it is being considered today, would completely gut this fund by cutting $8.8 billion--nearly $2 billion more than is needed to pay for repealing IPAB.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my Republican colleagues to work with Democrats to find an agreeable way to pay for this bill, and I urge opposition to this bill in its current form.
Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act.
While I support repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), I oppose offsetting the cost of repeal with funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
The Prevention and Public Health Fund is the nation's single largest investment in prevention programs. Established under the Affordable Care Act, the Fund represents an unprecedented investment in preventing disease, promoting wellness, and protecting our communities against public health emergencies.
Since its creation, the Fund has invested in a broad range of evidence-based initiatives. These include community prevention programs, research, surveillance and tracking efforts, increased access to immunizations, and tobacco prevention programs.
Much of this work is done through partnerships with state and local governments, which leverage Prevention Fund dollars to best meet the local need. These monies have been used for important work, such as controlling the obesity epidemic, detecting and responding to outbreaks, and reducing health disparities.
Congress has a distinct responsibility to formulate and fund programs and initiatives that promote public health and wellness. The Prevention and Public Health Fund is one means by which Congress fulfils this obligation.
While I opposed the creation of the IPAB and support its repeal, gutting the Fund would be a significant step backwards on the path towards improving our nation's health. Rescinding $8.85 billion to offset the costs of H.R. 1190 will have a devastating effect on our nation's health. It is not an acceptable trade off.
We spend billions of dollars on treating disease once people become sick. This investment in prevention is a key component of efforts to improve health and bend the health care cost curve. Using this money to pay for other priorities will only damage the long-term health of our nation.
I urge my colleagues to protect the federal government's only dedicated investment in prevention and vote against H.R. 1190.