Just as Democrats tout a CBO report finding that the Senate Health care bill will reduce deficits over 10 years by $130 billion, the White House has sent a letter to House Democrats saying the administration “strongly supports” passage of legislation to avoid scheduled cuts to doctors payments under Medicare that the CBO has said would add $210 billion to deficits.
Democrats have moved the so-called “doc fix” to separate bills so that they can make it appear as though health care legislation is cheaper than it actually is. In October, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to pass the so-called “doc fix” in the Senate, but only received 47 votes, far short of the 60 he needed to advance the legislation.
On top of being a financial sleight of hand, the “doc fix” push also reinforces why the larger health care bill is unlikely to reduce the deficit — it’s doubtful that the politically unpopular Medicare cuts proposed by Democrats would actually be enacted by future lawmakers.
In 1997, Congress tried to control the growth in doctor’s payments under Medicare, but it has consistently voted to avert those cuts under mounting opposition from physicians’ groups. Democrats heavily courted — and won — the support of the American Medical Association in large part by pushing the “doc fix.”
(Tip off via Brian Faughnan).