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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
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November 20, 2009

Health Care

Yesterday, the House considered H.R. 3961: Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act. This is an important issue and an essential piece of the health care reform bill recently passed by the House.

Current law calls for a 21% cut in Medicare payments made to doctors starting in January. Typically, Congress has had to block these rate cuts on a yearly basis, but this is short sighted and dangerous to the continued viability of Medicare. Simply put, the reimbursement rate has not kept pace with inflation. While no one wants to pay more for health care, it is critically important that Medicare offer a realistic fee schedule to physicians who treat individuals with Medicare so that they can continue to provide services. H.R. 3961 offers a permanent fix while also instituting key congressional fiscal constraints in the form of statutory Pay As You Go.

The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act addresses the growing disparity between services rendered by health care providers and the Medicare reimbursement rate with a permanent, sustainable solution. Additionally, not only does this change positively impact Medicare recipients, it will also benefit military personnel and their families who rely on TRICARE — since its rates are tied to Medicare's — for their health coverage.

I voted YES. H.R. 3961 passed in the House and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
DEMOCRAT

242

11

0

4

REPUBLICAN

1

172

0

4

TOTAL

243

183

0

8

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

10

0

0

0

Financial Regulatory Reform

This week the Financial Services Committee, of which I am a member, continued to consider legislation that would reduce systemic risk in the marketplace and strengthen regulations for the financial industry. H.R. 3996: The Financial Stability Improvement Act creates an Oversight Council to monitor firms that systemically threaten our financial system and provides the Council with authority to reduce those risks. The bill also establishes a process for dissolving large, failing firms (such as AIG) while protecting taxpayers and without endangering our larger economy. The committee plans to finalize this piece of legislation when it returns from next week's district work period. This bill, along with several other pieces of legislation already considered by the committee, will be combined into a broader reform package that will move to the House floor in December.

Job Creation

On Monday, I sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to use the remaining funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to create jobs. This would represent an important investment in our economy as we continue to do our best to rebuild the job market.

We are currently experiencing a 26 year high in the unemployment rate, which has reached 10.2% nationally. The letter states the "Treasury Department has reported that $210 billion in TARP funds remain unspent, and they expect banks to repay another $50 billion in the next year. These funds should be used to create jobs building roads and bridges and also in the education, science, and health care industries." I firmly believe that the government must do more to combat rising unemployment. Channeling some TARP funds into job creation is both an appropriate and worthy use of a program established to address the financial crisis. We cannot yet reasonably say that the job of TARP is complete while millions of willing Americans are unable to find work.

What's Up Next

Next week the House is in a district work period. Next votes are expected the week of November 30th.


Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on House Administration

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and
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