President Bush vetoed Medicare legislation Tuesday, with a looming a veto override expected from Congress. The legislation would have replaced a scheduled 10.6 percent cut to Medicare’s physician pay rates with 18 months of stable payments. The cost would be offset by cutting bonus payments to private Medicare plans known as Medicare Advantage.
The House, which originally passed the bill 359-55, planned to override the veto Tuesday afternoon, which would be followed closely by a Senate vote on the matter. In his veto message to the House, Bush said that he supported the legislation’s goal of stopping a 10.6 percent cut to Medicare’s physician payment rates, but that cuts to private Medicare plans, known as Medicare Advantage, prompted the veto.
“Because this bill would severely damage the Medicare program by undermining the Medicare Part D program and by reducing access, benefits, and choices for all beneficiaries, particularly the approximately 9.6 million beneficiaries in [Medicare Advantage], I must veto this bill,” Bush said in his message.