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Walz backs health care bill in the House

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., announced today that he will support the health care reform legislation in the House, which may come up for a vote on Saturday.

Up until Friday evening, Walz would not say definitively whether he would vote for the legislation or not. In recent weeks, however, he did indicate that he was leaning toward voting “yes” on the bill.

Key to his support were two studies that were recently added to the legislation, which will seek to update the Medicare formula that accounts for geographic differences in cost and implement a fee for quality system as opposed to the fee for service model that Medicare uses now.

“I’m voting for this bill because it solves two long-standing problems with how Medicare pays Minnesota doctors and hospitals,” Walz said in a statement. “The first change ends the fee-for-service payment model in Medicare that Mayo and other experts have said perversely encourages hospitals to perform unnecessary procedures and tests… The second change corrects the bone-headed fact that Medicare historically under-pays Minnesota doctors and hospitals simply because of geography — simply because of where we live.”

But some have criticized the House plan for not being strong enough.

The changes would result from two studies, one of which would be subject to congressional disapproval.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., also formally came out in support of the legislation this week.

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