After declaring the bill “objectionable” President Bush issued a Veto for it on Tuesday morning. He states that it would take funds from private health insurers to keep paying doctors and would be “fiscally irresponsible.” Within hours congress had voted. The House voted 383 to 41 to overrule him. The Senate soon followed in a 70-26 .
The bill, which affects 44 million Medicare beneficiaries and more than 9 million military personnel, now becomes law.
In the short term, the votes to nullify Bush’s veto postponed a pay cut that would have gone into effect the very same day, potentially forcing 60% of doctors to limit new Medicare patients, the American Medical Assn. said.In the long run, however, lawmakers still must grope for a way to address the reimbursement issue as well as the popular program’s overall condition
“We wasted no time in reversing the president’s carelessness and protecting our nation’s doctors and the patients they treat,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 halts a scheduled 10.6% cut in payments to physicians and institutes a 1.1% payment increase in 2009. The bill improves preventive and mental health benefits and increases an array of other services.