On Medicare veto override, even Bachmann and Kline rebuke Bush


Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline overriding a veto by George W. Bush? It’s the political climate of 2008. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act was vetoed by Bush on Tuesday, and Congress just as quickly voted to override him.

Every member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation voted against Bush on Tuesday.

The Democrats, along with a majority of Republicans, pushed back against intense lobbying by insurance companies led by Minnesota’s embattled UnitedHealth Group Inc. The act gives physicians equitable pay under Medicare by cutting payments to insurance companies — payments that Democrats and a few Republicans said are excessive.

Bush supported increasing payments to doctors but opposed paying for it by cutting payments to insurance companies. Congress disagreed. The override passed the House on Tuesday by 383-41 [roll call] and the Senate on Monday by 70-26 [roll call].

DFL Rep. Tim Walz said that the veto “threatens to deny access to Medicare services for millions of seniors and people with disabilities and to fundamentally undermine the Medicare program. In tough economic times, it is more important than ever for us to come together to ensure that our seniors have access to the doctors they know and trust.”

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, “I cast my vote to override the President’s veto tonight because this legislation is vital for the millions of patients who rely on this program to receive quality health care,” Klobuchar continued: “It’s time that Medicare rewarded the kind of high-quality, low-cost medicine that our doctors and hospitals practice in Minnesota, so this is a first step toward reform.’’

The Medicare Act is technically the third veto override of Bush. In November 2007 Congress overrode Bush’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act, with the entire Minnesota delegation voting to override. In 2008 Congress voted to override the Farm Bill, with every member of the Minnesota delegation except Bachmann voting against Bush.