Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Bipartisan Permanent SGR Fix & CHIP Reauthorization Package
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him, Mr. Pallone, I thank him and Mr. Levin, our Ranking Members on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, for their leadership and cooperation on this issue, as well as the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Upton, and the Ways and Means Committee on the Republican side as well.
“But this is a day that we really have to salute our staff. They have worked so hard. It was my honor to work with Speaker Boehner on this important issue to do what we came here to do, to legislate. We are the legislative branch. We are legislating. We are working together to get the job done for the American people.
“Speaker Boehner's staff – especially Charlotte Ivancic, who is extremely knowledgeable about health policy, was smart and fair about all this; Wendell Primus of my staff was a strong voice for the concerns of seniors and children and the rest in those discussions; Ed Grossman and his team at House Legislative Counsel: for all the ideas that Members they churned up – Leg-Counsel had to translate that into what the possibility was for legislative language, 24/7, weekends included; Megan O’Reilly, Bridget Taylor and the technical team at CMS and HHS – 24/7 for many days; Holly Harvey and Tom Bradley and the team at the Congressional Budget Office having to score every change of idea that we may have had; again, and the staffs both at the Ways and Means Committee on both sides of the aisle and the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“I take the time to recognize them because in recognizing them I really want to recognize the work that is done by staff on all that we do here. All these individuals, again, have been working 18-hour days over the past few weeks, and we thank them for their tireless work – and hard work.
“This package includes many important victories for low-income seniors, children and families. There are many reasons to support this bill, four I'd like to point out: we are strengthening the quality of care for many older Americans with additional funding for initiatives that help low-income seniors pay their Medicare Part-B premiums; we've added almost $750 million for training more urgently-needed nurses and physicians; we have secured the health care of poor children with a two-year extension of Children’s Health Insurance Program at the same rate set by the Affordable Care Act – many people wanted more, as did I, [but] that does not diminish the importance of the two-year extension; lastly, we have secured critical funding for community health centers over the next two years, expanding a vital investment in underserved communities.
“I'm proud to rise in support of this historic bipartisan package. It represents a bold, necessary progress for our country. It's not just about enabling our seniors to see their doctors – which is the main purpose, original purpose of the bill – it's about how we can increase performance and lower costs. It's about value, not volume of service. It's about quality, not quantity of procedures. And this legislation is transformative in how it rewards the value, not the volume. So I'm proud to support it.
“At long last, we will replace the broken SGR formula, and transition Medicare away from a volume-based system, towards one that rewards value, ensures the accuracy of payments, and improves the quality of care. With this legislation, we give America’s seniors confidence that they will be able to see the doctors they need and the doctors they like, liberating them from the shadows of needless annual crisis. And as a woman in Women's History Month, I'm very proud of what the legislation means to women and their health issues.
“So, for these and other reasons, I urge my colleagues to vote ‘Aye’. It was my privilege to work with the Speaker in a bipartisan way on this legislation. I hope it will be a model of things to come. With that, I yield back the balance of my time.”