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Blunt Cites New CMS Report in Calling for Action on Safeguarding Medicare

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report released today projecting that Medicare will consume over 20 percent of national health care spending by 2017, House Republican Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) issued the following statement urging the House to take up legislation introduced Monday by Leaders John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to safeguard Medicare:

"Looking at this report, I'm not sure how much more evidence we need demonstrating that Medicare is on a path of financial ruin unless we take action now. Sadly, I've heard members on the other side of the aisle insist that Congress doesn't need to do anything. Some have even gone so far as to call critical legislation introduced yesterday by Leaders Boehner and Hoyer 'dead on arrival.' But with government spending on health care set to nearly double by 2017 as this CMS report demonstrates, every year we fail to act means less time we have to shore up Medicare for our seniors.

"We were elected to face-up to the hard issues confronting our nation today, and that includes entitlements like Medicare. I hope that Democrats take a long hard look at this report before they continue to refuse to work with Republicans to solve the problems of the American people."

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a report on the expected growth in health care spending from 2007 to 2017. According to CMS:

-- Growth in health care spending in the United States is projected to be 6.7 percent in 2007, and the average annual growth is expected to remain near that rate through 2017.

-- Over the full projection period, annual growth in health spending is anticipated to be higher than annual growth in both the overall economy (4.9 percent) and general inflation (2.4 percent).

-- As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), health care spending is projected to increase to 16.3 percent in 2007 from 16.0 percent in 2006.

-- By the end of the projection period, health care spending in the United States is expected to reach just over $4.3 trillion and comprise 19.5 percent of GDP.

Below is a summary of the legislation introduced yesterday by Leaders Boehner and Hoyer:

-- Reform the nation's medical liability laws in order to put patients' interests before those of trial lawyers;

-- Focus the Medicare prescription drug program on low-income seniors by limiting the amount of taxpayer funded benefits for seniors with incomes of more than $80,000, saving Medicare an estimated $3 billion over five years; and

-- Allow the Department of Health and Human Services to introduce value-driven competition into Medicare and create incentives for high-quality, low-cost health care options.

SOURCE House Republican Whip Roy Blunt
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