Press releases

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Protecting the American Taxpayer and Medicare Act, which would protect Medicare and other mandatory spending programs from planned sequestrations without raising the federal debt limit. Sen. Wyden (D-Ore.) blocked the bill’s passage.

“Americans depend on Medicare, especially while we’re still recovering from the pandemic. This bill would protect Medicare and other crucial programs from harmful cuts without enabling Pres. Biden’s Build Back Broker agenda. If Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling to fund trillions of dollars in extra spending while inflation is ravaging American families, they can do it themselves,” said Kennedy.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have cosponsored the legislation.

The Protecting the American Taxpayer and Medicare Act would:

  • Delay the planned two percent Medicare sequester payment reductions that are scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2022.
  • Waive Congress’s Pay-As-You-Go rule until 2023, which would prevent sequestration for all mandatory spending programs in 2022. This includes cuts to agricultural programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
  • Continue the three percent increase to Medicare physicians through Dec. 31, 2022 to help providers care for patients in the wake of the pandemic.
  • Delay reductions in Medicare payments to clinical laboratory fees through Dec. 31, 2022 to preserve access to testing and laboratory services.
  • Delay the implementation of the Medicare radiation oncology model through Dec. 31, 2022 to ensure access to care for cancer patients.
  • Provide $45 million in savings to the Medicare Improvement Fund, for a total balance of $101 million.

Failure to waive the Pay-As-You-Go rule would result in $9.4 billion in cuts to Medicare hospital providers in 2022. Cuts to Medicare overall would be $36 billion, or a four percent reduction.

Some senators want to tie Medicare protections to a measure increasing the debt ceiling by a fixed dollar amount, even though Senate Democrats can address the debt ceiling themselves through the reconciliation process. Kennedy’s legislation would protect Medicare from sequestrations without also raising the debt ceiling.

Text of the Protecting the American Taxpayer and Medicare Act is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.