Thursday, July 10, 2008

Medicare is Safe Thanks to Rick Noriega’s 2nd Senate Vote

Thanks, in part, to the campaign pressure of Texas Democratic candidate Rick Noriega, HR 6331, the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 passed the Cloture vote in the Senate late yesterday by a veto-proof vote of 69 to 30 (one Senator, Jammin’ John McCain, not voting).

Texas’ junior senator John “I Was Against It Before I Was For It” Cornyn voted with the majority after making a heated argument against the bill, subsequently being verbally skewered for it – something you rarely see in the Senate. Even with my 1990’s vintage TV you could see his red face clearly as it stood in contrast to his well-coiffed silvery mane.

One can only conclude, with such a violent, whiplash-inducing flip-flop, that Cornyn had a little pressure on him. That pressure, very obviously, extends from the serious problem he is having in his home state, where Rick Noriega has mounted a highly credible and damaging campaign against him this year. Not wanting to be caught with his foot firmly planted on America’s “third rail,” Medicare, Cornyn quickly reversed himself.

Recall it was Cornyn’s vote that could have seen the passage of the bill the first time around. A vote that cost him dearly among the elderly and near-elderly. With the Noriega campaign rubbing his face in it at every turn, Cornyn couldn’t help but relent. From the Washington Post:

“Since the initial vote, Republicans had come under intense pressure from the American Medical Association, which aired advertisements in states where such Republicans as Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), who opposed the provision, were facing reelection. The Texas chapter of the AMA withdrew its endorsement of Cornyn after his first vote. Yesterday, he switched sides.”

That played a huge role, but we also need to acknowledge the fact that the 60th vote entered the Senate chambers just minutes before the bill was to be reconsidered. Senator Ted Kennedy, taking a vacation from his convalescence from his recent brain surgery, entered the chambers during the FISA vote roll call with the entire Senate rising, applauding, and whooping for several minutes. Kennedy’s presence assured passage, giving Cornyn no choice but to flip over to the side of right and righteousness, along with a few of his cronies – for a net 9 aye-vote gain over the previous time the bill was considered.

The result? Medicare payments to doctors will not decrease by 10%. Doctors will not be induced to turn away Medicare patients; instead, payments to insurers that back the alternative Medicare Advantage plan will be reduced.

So well in advance of his next term as our new US Senator (Texas), Rick Noriega already casts votes in the Senate. Votes for Texans this time, instead of for corporations and special interests. His first vote, for his fellow servicemen and veterans, was cast when Cornyn flipped his vote on the GI Bill. And now, the second, for seniors with fixed income.

Not a bad start.

The beauty of the whole thing is that Texans are getting a preview of how their next Senator will be voting, and see the positive effects of his votes long before November. If they like what they see, they know what they can do on November 4th.

They can vote for the guy who is pulling John Cornyn’s strings right now, State Rep, LTC (and now “Puppetmaster”) Rick Noriega.


Clark Bowers said...

how deluded are you? Noreiga's Senate vote?

Cornyn who worked with the Texas Medical Association to bring a long term solution to the Medicare cuts was screaming his lungs off to try to permanently stop Medicare and Medicare Advantage cuts.

The blind Senator Reid and short-sided Baucus decide that they won't allow debate, amendments or even talks about the bill. How un-American and undemocratic that is!

They put the Republicans in a corner and said, "No! Either we debate this and create partison politics or nothing, and lets put the elderly on the chopping block."

Cornyn, trying to do his job by creating a long term solution fought tooth and nail to do his job and revolutionize the system so partison politics don't put needy American's in the front these cuts ever again.

Instead the democrats said, no were in control and its the shorterm no-debate, no talk, highway or nothing.

Being a practicing Doctor in Bexar County, I support Senator Cornyn's efforts in trying to correct our system. I just wish the Democrats would actually put their hatred aside and do their damn jobs for once!

You have my vote Senator Cornyn!

Hal said...

Dr Bowers -

Where was Senator Cornyn in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 when the Republican-controlled congress never pushed for a permanent fix to Medicare? Why is this now an issue with Cornyn? Why did the TMA "unendorse" Cornyn as a result of his previous vote on the bill?

You're backing the wrong horse here, Doc.

Hal said...

Hey Beckwith: is that you?