DSCC - Senator Sununu Backs Insurance Companies over SAeniors, Votes Against Medicare Bill

Ignoring calls from doctors across New Hampshire and the country to reverse his vote, Republican Senator John Sununu voted again today against a bill to prevent steep cuts in Medicare. Without passage of the legislation, which is paid for by ending costly overpayments to private insurance companies and HMOs participating in Medicare, millions of seniors would have been unable to easily access care, as many doctors were expected to stop seeing Medicare patients.The bill was endorsed by the American Medical Association, which has run television ads criticizing Republican Senators for opposing it. The legislation now heads to the president, who has threatened to veto it.

“Doctors, seniors, troops and their families all urged John Sununu to back this important bill, but he decided to stand with George Bush and the big insurance companies instead,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. “Sununu had an opportunity to fix his mistake, put aside partisan politics, and stand up for New Hampshire seniors and service members today, but he chose to put the interests of the insurance companies who are funding his campaign first. If the president vetoes this bill as he has said he will, Sununu will have one last chance to do the right thing when it comes back to the Senate, and the people of New Hampshire will be watching.”

On July 1, reimbursement rates to physicians under Medicare and the military health program, TRICARE, were cut by 10.6% under a statutory formula widely regarded as outdated. Congress has passed legislation reversing scheduled cuts each year since 2003. The bill garnered overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, passing 355-59, and passed the Senate today 69-30. If passed into law, it will improve both mental health access for veterans and Medicare programs for rural seniors.

Sununu Voted For The Second Time In As Many Weeks To Put Insurance Companies And HMOs Over Doctors And Seniors. For the second time in two weeks, Sen. Sununu voted today to obstruct a bill preventing a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates to doctors. The bill is paid for by ending costly overpayments to private insurance companies and HMOs participating in Medicare,while improving both mental health access for veterans and Medicare programs for rural seniors. [Vote 160, 6/26/08; Vote169, 7/9/08]

SununuVoted To Cut Medicaid Funding or Against Increased Funding At Least 13 Times. Since coming to Congress, Sununu has voted to cut or against increased funding for Medicare at least thirteen times. [Vote 92, 3/22/07;Vote 62, 3/16/06;Vote 363, 12/21/05;Vote 303, 11/3/05;Vote 287, 11/3/05;Vote 291, 11/3/05;Vote 7, 1/7/03;Vote 21, 1/23/03;Vote 89, 3/25/03;Vote 166, 6/5/97;Vote 241, 6/25/97;Vote 343, 7/30/97;Vote 345, 7/30/97]

Sununu Has Received $649,874 From the Insurance Industry. Since his firstrun for Congress, Sununu has received at least $649,874 in campaigncontributions from the insurance industry. [Centerfor Responsive Politics]

American Medical Association Blasted Republicans Who Blocked Bill. 6/27/08] “Thephysicians of America are outraged that a group of Republican senators followedthe direction of the Bush Administration and voted to protect health insurancecompanies at the expense of America’s seniors, disabled and militaryfamilies…Thanks to some senators, we stand at the brink of a Medicaremeltdown…The Senate must return from their recess and make seniors’health care their top priority. For doctors, this is not a partisan issue -it's a patient access issue.” [Dr. Nancy Nielsen, President of AmericanMedical Association, 6/27/08]

Without a fix, 60% of doctors would stop seeing new Medicare patients. 6/9/08 A surveyshows that 60% of doctors will be forced to restrict the number of new Medicarepatients they see if reimbursement rates fall 10.6%, while the nonpartisanexpert Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reports that already 30% ofMedicare patients looking for a new primary care physician have trouble finding one. [AMA, 6/9/08 MedPAC March2008]

Sununu votes against seniors to preserve overpayments to HMOs. SununuVoted to Jeopardize Access to Doctors for Family Members of Troops in Iraq andAfghanistan.