WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) voted late yesterday to preserve seniors’ access to their doctors by fixing the way Medicare pays physicians. The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, H.R. 3961, will permanently reform the Medicare payment system, repealing a 21% cut in payments to doctors scheduled to take place in January and replacing it with a stable system that protects seniors, preserves their relationship with their doctors, and promotes primary care. Both the AMA and AARP have endorsed this legislation.

“I’ve heard over and over again from seniors that any health reform needs to protect their ability to see their own doctor,” said Congressman Himes. “The bill helps ensure seniors have reliable access to their doctors and the primary care they need.”

This bill tackles seniors’ main concern—preventing pay cuts that could encourage doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients. It builds on the historic health care reform bill the House passed earlier this month, which will lower premiums, extend the solvency of Medicare, improve preventive and primary care for seniors, and close the prescription drug “donut hole” coverage gap.

“AARP applauds Congressman Himes’ support of the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, which will ensure that millions of older Americans on Medicare can continue to see the doctor of their choice,” said Brenda Kelley, AARP CT State Director. “The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act will permanently fix the current flawed payment formula, replace it with a new payment system intended to pay physicians fairly, and better reward physicians for providing primary care and preventive services.”