SHAWNEE, Kan.– Sen. Pat Roberts has refused to answer whether he supports a Tea Party-sponsored plan that would allow for the state takeover and privatization of Medicare, according to a report today from the Wichita Eagle. According to the report, when the Eagle asked Roberts for his stand on the compact, the Roberts campaign refused “to answer the question directly and instead reasserted the Senator’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act.” When asked to clarify Roberts’ stand in a phone call, Bliss said that Roberts “supports nothing until Obamacare’s repealed and replaced.”
However, the Tea Party Express says on its web site that it has Roberts’ support for the plan which has sparked public outrage in Kansas. The Eagle noted that the Tea Party Express, which endorsed Roberts last week, specifically lists the compact as a reason to vote for Roberts. “We need Senator Roberts to stay in the Senate and on the Health Committee to help us pass the Health Care Compact . . . “ the paper said, quoting from Morgan Sharp, a Kansas Tea party activist, on the group’s endorsement page.
“This proves that after living in Washington for 47 years, Sen. Roberts has lost touch with the needs of Kansas’ seniors,” said Orman campaign manager Jim Jonas. “Senator Roberts lives in Washington, rarely visits Kansas, and doesn’t even show up for his job on the Health committee when he does – having skipped 85% of hearings. Kansans want a Senator who supports protecting Medicare and will show up to defend it, not a Senator who supports a radical plan to privatize it, and skips the job we’re paying him to do.”
Businessman and independent Senate candidate Greg Orman told the paper that as a Senator he would fight this flawed scheme.
“I think taking our health care dollars for seniors and putting them in the hands of a governor who raided our transportation trust fund providing tax cuts for the wealthiest Kansans is the height of irresponsibility,” Orman said. “I would absolutely vote against that measure and ultimately if the President vetoed it I would vote to sustain the veto.”
As Senator, Roberts has repeatedly skipped hearings on this important issue – failing to show up, represent Kansas, and do the job we’re paying him to do.
Missed Hearing On Medicare Advantage. In January 2008, Roberts sipped a hearing on “Private Fee for Service Plans in Medicare Advantage: A Closer Look.” [Senate Finance Committee, 1/30/08]
Roberts Argued That Medicare Advantage Pay Cuts Would Result In Less Generous Benefits.“But Sen. Pat Roberts (R, Kan.) took issue with the statement, saying that Medicare Advantage pay cuts would result in less generous benefits packages for those enrolled in the private plans. ‘This document contains several statements that directly contradict the findings of CMS’s own chief actuary,’ Roberts said in a May 26 letter addressed to Sebelius. The senator requested clarification and also asked that CMS disclose how costs for the mailing were financed.” [American Medical News, 6/7/10]
Missed Two Hearings on Payments To Medicare Physicians. In June 2012 Roberts skipped a hearing on “Medicare Physician Payment Policy: Lessons From The Private Sector” and in July 2012 Roberts missed a hearing on “Medicare Physician Payment Policy: Perspectives From Physicians.” [Senate Finance Committee, 6/14/12; 7/11/12]
Roberts Supported Finding Long-Term Solutions To Stop Anticipated Cuts To Medicare Reimbursement Rates. “As a strong opponent of payment cuts, I have helped stop these anticipated cuts for the past several years through a stopgap measure. Last December, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, legislation averting the Medicare physician cut for six months and providing a 0.5 percent increase in funding for physicians. But this is only a short-term fix. I am committed to working on the Senate Finance Committee to provide long-term relief for doctors so they can continue to serve seniors.” [Pat Roberts,Wichita Eagle, 4/20/08]
April 2008: Roberts Argued That Medicare Posed A Challenge For Health Care Providers Because They Were Forced To Take Greater Cuts In Medicare Reimbursements. “Medicare affects physicians, nurses, hospital administrators and staff, pharmacists, and home health care workers. I meet on a regular basis with senior citizens and representatives from all of these groups, continually looking at ways to make Medicare a better and more cost-effective program. Among the biggest challenges are the payment rates for physicians who serve seniors in Medicare. Because of a complex funding formula, doctors are being asked to take greater cuts in Medicare reimbursements for their services.” [Wichita Eagle, 4/20/08]
For more information about businessman Greg Orman and his Independent campaign for U.S. Senate, please visit the campaign online at www.OrmanForSenate.com. For media inquires, please contact our press office at Press@OrmanForSenate.com or call us at 913-353-5277.
Sign up to help bring Common Sense to Washington.