Republican David Perdue was among a small handful of mostly southern GOP senators who voted against Medicare reform legislation to abandon a flawed repayment program for health care providers.
The legislation was offered as a permanent solution to the yearly congressional tradition known as the “doc fix,” in which Congress was forced to annually override a 1997 federal repayment formula that tied Medicare payouts to increases in the economy.
When it passed the House last month with overwhelming bipartisan support—it fell 37 votes shy of the complete chamber’s backing—two Georgians voted it down. Conservative Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Tom Graves argued the new blueprint was insolvement and would increase the national debt by $500 billion in the next two decades.
The legislation passed the Senate Tuesday on similar overwhelming margin, 92-8. In a statement, Perdue echoed the concerns of his fellow Peach State dissenters in the lower chamber.
“We have got to stop borrowing at these outrageous levels to meet our federal priorities,” Perdue said via spokeswoman Megan Whittemore. “Meeting the needs of our seniors, doctors, and rural health centers is a priority, but we need to find the money within the budget process, and put together a responsible way to pay for these priorities, not use more borrowed money that adds to our long-term debt.”
The bill marked one of the first fissures between Perdue and senior Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, who voted for the doc fix-fix. The two have generally been in line on most matters since Perdue took office earlier this year.
Isakson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the abandonment of the old formula was an “important first step forward on strengthening Medicare and reforming entitlements.”