Now in the minority for the first time during his tenure in Congress, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., has paired up with U.S. Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn., to encourage healthcare providers to offer free services for low-income Americans on Medicaid or the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Webster introduced the “Physician Pro Bono Care Act” on Tuesday and he weighed in on it on Wednesday. His office noted the bill “will provide a tax deduction to healthcare providers for pro-bono health services to low-income individuals and families who rely on Medicaid or CHIP.”
“This bill is a creative, commonsense solution that ensures our most vulnerable Americans have access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a price they can afford,” Webster said. “This bill removes government bureaucracy and red-tape that obstructs the patient-doctor relationship, and it expands access to doctors for some of the more vulnerable in our society.”
Webster insisted the bill will increase access while cutting Medicaid costs and claimed it “will save the federal and state government billions of dollars through the use of pro-bono services.”
Peterson echoed that claim on Wednesday.
“In addition to expanding care options for those most in need, the Physician Pro Bono Care Act also has the potential to save billions of dollars in federal healthcare expenditures,” said Peterson. “I look forward to working with Congressman Webster to implement this important reform.”
“This can be a bipartisan win-win to improve access and choice to healthcare for those of limited means and I urge the Congress to take up this legislation and pass it,” said Dan Weber, the president and founder of Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). “From the positive feedback we’ve received from physicians, we believe medical care could be offered to as many as 7 million needy people.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees. So far, Webster has picked up five other cosponsors including Peterson and U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, and Republican U.S. Reps. Rick Allen and Jody Hice of Georgia. There is no counterpart over in the Senate so far.