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AARP Hawaii Key Vote on Medicare Bill

Sen. Mazie Hirono

On April 13 the U.S. Senate voted on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 (H.R. 2) that permanently replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula used to calculate reimbursements to physicians under Medicare. The Senate also voted on the Cardin-Vitter “Seniors’ Amendment” which was a Key Vote for AARP. Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono was a co-sponsor of the amendment.

AARP applauds the momentous bipartisan Senate vote on MACRA to repeal and replace the flawed SGR formula with an improved payment system. AARP has long advocated for a permanent SGR fix to help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can rest assured that they’ll be able to keep seeing their physicians each year.

AARP sent a letter to each U.S. Senator urging them to support the “Seniors’ Amendment” to MACRA, based on bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Collins (R-ME) and Cardin (D-MD). This amendment would have removed Medicare’s arbitrary cap on physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy services. AARP informed the Senators that we would track their individual votes on the amendment as an “AARP Key Vote” and report back to our 38 million members and the public how each Senator votes on this key amendment.

“AARP applauds Senator Brian Schatz and Senator Mazie Hirono for voting for the Cardin-Vitter “Seniors’ Amendment,” said AARP Hawaii State Director Barbara Kim Stanton. “Although the amendment did not pass, we appreciate their vote in support of Medicare beneficiaries in our state, particularly stroke victims and people with Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, who need physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy services.”

Hawaii residents can see how their Senators voted on the Cardin–Vitter “Seniors’ Amendment” by going to U.S. Senate Roll Call. AARP will publish each Senator’s ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ vote and including this information in our end-of-year legislative summary to all 38 million members at the end of the congressional session.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with nearly 150,000 members in Hawaii. AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families – such as health care, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse.

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