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Representative Blumenauer Statement on Ways and Means Health Care Legislation Markup

June 3, 2015

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement following the Committee on Ways and Means markup of a series of health care legislation.

Passage of Securing Care for Seniors Act and Value Based Insurance Design for Better Care Act

“Today’s showing of bipartisan support to further strengthen the Medicare Advantage program is encouraging. Adjustments to the program should be made and the Securing Care for Seniors Act ensures such changes are based on evidence-based data. This will improve the accuracy and integrity of the program to ensure high-quality care for Medicare beneficiaries.

“Committee passage of the VBID for Better Care Act is also another step in encouraging better value and efficiency in Medicare. This legislation builds upon reforms happening across the country and will allow for more flexibility to improve and innovate the program, while at the same time lowering expenses for beneficiaries.

“We should build upon this momentum, and I hope to see these bills pass on House floor with broad bipartisan support.”

Efforts to Undermine ACA

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has unquestionably helped slow health care cost growth. Health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years, and national per capita health care spending has grown at an estimated average rate of just 1.3 percent a year since 2010, when the ACA was passed. We cannot afford to reverse these trends. Legislation that repeals the Medical Device Tax and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a step in the wrong direction.  

“The ACA was financed collectively by the health industry. The medical device community stands to benefit greatly by the number of newly insured Americans and was one of the several different industries who stood with the President and Congress to pledge their support for health reform and a willingness to help work to pay for it. It’s sad this industry is going back on that promise and is actively working to undermine the law.

“The success of the ACA has been so great that we don’t expect to need the IPAB until 2022 or beyond. Further, in an era where Congress accomplishes so little, IPAB will force Congress into making decisions about the future of health care, requiring Congress to be more accountable, not less.

“For these reasons, today I opposed the repeal of the Medical Device Tax and IPAB. I look forward to continue to work with my colleagues to find constructive ways to strengthen and improve the ACA.”

Representative Blumenauer on May 29 joined with Representatives Diane Black (R-TN), Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) in introducing H.R. 2579, the Securing Care for Seniors Act of 2015. On May 22, he also introduced H.R. 2570, the Value Based Insurance Design for Better Care Act of 2015, with Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).