What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : S. Con. Res. 23. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution/Vote to Pare Back the Amount of Tax Cuts Contained in the Bill In Order to Reduce the Disparity Between Medicare Reimbursement Rates for Rural and Urban Hospitals. (2003 senate Roll Call 89)
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S. Con. Res. 23. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution/Vote to Pare Back the Amount of Tax Cuts Contained in the Bill In Order to Reduce the Disparity Between Medicare Reimbursement Rates for Rural and Urban Hospitals.
senate Roll Call 89     Mar 25, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

On the whole, urban hospitals are compensated in greater amounts from the Medicare program for the care they provide than are their rural counterparts. For instance, while some states receive an average of over $7000 in federal reimbursements per Medicare beneficiary, other states receive as little as $3000 on average per beneficiary. To correct disparities among states in reimbursement rates, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) proposed an amendment to the 2004 budget resolution providing $25 billion over ten years to increase the level of federal funding for rural hospitals for costs associated with treating Medicare patients. The increase in spending proposed by Harkin's amendment would have been offset by a reduction in the amount contained in the budget resolution for tax cuts. Progressives support Harkin's effort because fairness dictates that hospitals, regardless of their geographic location, are compensated equally for the treatments they provide to Medicare patients. Every Democrat voted in support of Harkin's amendment but the measure failed to attract a majority of the chamber and was defeated on a tie vote of 49-49 (to pass, a measure requires majority support among Senators present and voting).

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