Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Votes for Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Medicare Access, Children’s Healthcare & Secure Rural Schools Program

March 26, 2015
Press Release

Historic Package Replaces Flawed Annual “Doc-Fix” Patches &
Restores Certainty to Seniors & Medicare Physicians

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), who served eight years as California’s Insurance Commissioner, voted in favor of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act of 2015. The bill passed the House of Representatives on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 392-37. President Obama has said he would sign the legislation. It is supported by a broad coalition of advocacy groups.

Congressman Garamendi released the following statement on House passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015:

“Today, we came together, not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans, to uphold our obligation to society’s most vulnerable citizens, including our seniors, children in lower-income families, and Americans who live in rural underserved communities.

“This bipartisan bill ensures seniors’ access to their doctors. H.R. 2 replaces a broken Medicare payment formula that routinely threatened seniors’ ability to see their doctors with a new formula that provides certainty for seniors and Medicare physicians. This improved Medicare formula rewards value in health care delivery, ensures accuracy of payments, and improves quality of care.

“After a lifetime of work, seniors should have affordable health care. That is why this bill will permanently extend the Qualifying Individual program, which helps low-income seniors pay their Medicare Part B premiums.

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides health coverage to more than eight million children in families that earn too much for Medicaid but are unable to afford health insurance. H.R. 2 would extend funding for this vital program for two years. The legislation would be also renew funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.

“Americans living in rural communities face significant challenges in accessing medical care. As a state legislator, I authored a law to extend health care services to more than a million rural Californians. H.R. 2 secures critical funding for community health centers over the next two years, expanding a crucial investment in rural and other underserved communities. The bill would also extend for two years the Secure Rural Schools program, which provides funding for counties near national forests, including Colusa, Lake, and Glenn counties.

“As the principal author of welfare reform in California, I am proud to announce that H.R. 2 would permanently extend the Transitional Medical Assistance program, which helps families on Medicaid maintain their coverage for one year as they transition from welfare to work.

“I urge the Senate to pass this legislation without delay. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act is a solid bipartisan compromise that strengthens our health care system so it can better serve the American people.”

Click here for additional details on the bill.