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Feinstein speaks on Senate floor in strong opposition to dangerous amendment

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to an amendment offered by Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) to the Medicare Sequester Act that would have blocked an important protection for California’s safety-net hospitals.

The Senate rejected the Scott amendment immediately after Senator Feinstein spoke.

A drafting error in the coronavirus relief packaged passed in December unintentionally removed protections that ensure California hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of uninsured and Medicaid patients are fairly compensated for unrecovered costs. The Medicare Sequester Act would fix that drafting error.

Video of her remarks can be found here, and high-resolution video is available here. Full text of her remarks follow:

“I rise in strong opposition to the Scott amendment. The bill before us fixes a drafting error from legislation enacted last December.

The unintentional error occurred accidentally against a long-standing rule under which California is able to use Medicaid funding to reimburse hospitals serving uninsured and Medicaid patients. 

Today’s bill fixes that drafting error. It makes no other changes to law and does not provide additional funds to California or any other state. CBO says this provision has no budgetary effect.

Because of the sheer number of Medicaid and uninsured patients that receive care in California safety-net hospitals, Congress in 1997 granted the state additional flexibility. It can use federal funds it receives to cover hospital expenses for those in need.

If the Scott amendment passes, hospital care for half of the children in California and the vulnerable populations most affected by COVID would be at risk.

Please vote no on this amendment.”