On Friday, the Democrats attacked the Republican senators for opposing a major Medicare bill. They said that the Republicans should be held responsible for a 10 percent cut in the salary of the doctors, which will be brought in effect next week.
Republicans and Democrats agreed they needed to stop the cut in physicians’ payments but they disagreed about how to pay for it. Democrats sought reductions in the reimbursements to the private insurers that provide benefits through a program called Medicare Advantage.
“What’s happening with this legislation tonight is detrimental to the health-care delivery system,'” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said after the vote. “There are no winners.”
The insurance companies, on an average, are paid about 13 percent more under Medicare Advantage than what the government pays to provide service directly. While the Democrats say that the insurers get excess profit, the Republicans are of opinion that that the companies give seniors added care that would be threatened by reimbursement cuts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican said, in a debate, that the Democratic plan “would cause 2 million seniors to lose the extra benefits they currently get in their Medicare Advantage plans.”