Lipinski Votes to Preserve Seniors' Access to Doctors and Invest in Diabetes Research and Prevention

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) voted to prevent a sharp cut in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors that threatened seniors’ access to medical care. Both the House and Senate have now passed the legislation, and the President is expected to sign it.

“Allowing the scheduled 25 percent rate cut to take effect on Jan. 1 would be a disaster for seniors,” Congressman Lipinski said. “It would reduce the number of doctors willing to treat Medicare recipients, preventing many seniors from seeing the doctor who is most familiar with them and making it more difficult to find a new doctor or secure an appointment. Passage of this bill will help ensure access to care for those who need it most, while not increasing the deficit.”

The legislation, H.R. 4994, is fully paid for through changes to the health care reform law, which Congressman Lipinski voted against in part because it would cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare, negatively impacting seniors.

H.R. 4994 also renews the Special Diabetes Program. As a diabetic, Congressman Lipinski is a strong supporter of this program, which funds critical diabetes research and prevention efforts. The bill invests $300 million in the program, which has produced tangible positive results. Congressman Lipinski previously cosponsored legislation to renew the SDP.  

Nearly 24 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes and 1.6 million cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 and older each year. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the country, the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 years, and the leading cause of kidney failure. The total cost of the disease in direct medical spending and indirect costs such as lost work days and disability is estimated at $174 billion annually.

“I continue to work to make sure our nation fulfills its obligations to our seniors,” Congressman Lipinski said. “I’m also proud to support research that will improve the prevention and treatment of diabetes, which afflicts people of all ages, but which is especially prevalent among Americans 60 and older.”

(December 9, 2010)