augusta free press news

Webb champions passage of Medicare bill

Item by Chris Graham

A bill that would provide $4 billion in improvements to the Medicare program and block a proposed 10.6 percent cut in Medicare and TRICARE payments to doctors passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., lauded the passage of the legislation, which proponents say will improve low-income assistance programs for Medicare beneficiaries, improve medical services in Rural America and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for mental-health care.

The bill passed by a veto-proof 69-30 majority.

“The Senate today voted to protect health care access to 1.8 million seniors and military families across Virginia who receive assistance through the Medicare and TRICARE programs,” Webb said. “This is immensely important given that Virginia has the third-largest TRICARE population in the country. Reimbursement rates for medical providers of our state’s military retirees are set in accordance with the Medicare program.

“I urge President Bush to support our bipartisan effort to ensure our seniors and military families receive quality, affordable health care,” Webb said.