Reid: Doc-fix? What doc-fix?
posted at 2:55 pm on January 13, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
There’s disingenuousness, and then … there’s Harry Reid. Six days ago, after Reid attempted to rally the faithful at UNLV to support ObamaCare, he got asked about the parallel attempt to rescind deep cuts to Medicare reimbursements, promised by Democrats to the AMA in exchange for their support. The Nevada News Bureau has the audio and the transcript:
Listen to the audio of the question(s) about Medicare cuts and Senator Reid’s answers from Thursday night here. Following is the transcript (Reid was exiting the auditorium so the audio contains background noise):
Q: Isn’t it true that if the doctor’s fix for Medicare reimbursements for doctors is taken out of the bill that all of the budget savings would disappear? And that there’s already pending legislation to do that – to reverse that?
Senator Reid: No, because we pay for that. It’s going to be something we’re paying for.
Q: But it’s included in the bill, and that’s part of the CBO scoring for that savings.
Reid: Our bill has nothing in it for the doctors.
Q: It doesn’t reduce, the twenty, the reimbursements to Medicare doctors by 21%?
Reid: Anything we do for the doctors is going to be paid for. We disagree with the House.
Q: Okay. But it does not reduce the Medicare reimbursements to doctors, your bill?
Reid: No. Nothing, there’s nothing, there’s not. And the doctors endorsed our bill because they know we’re going to do something to take care of them. The AMA endorsed our bill.
To make this clear, the reimbursement cuts are already law. Congress has done this before; they pass cuts to reimbursements that take effect in the future, and then rescind them under pressure from the medical industry. However, Reid wrote the Senate bill under the assumption that the cuts will take place, and reported the bill to the CBO as such. That allowed Reid to argue that the bill won’t impact the deficit.
However, at the same time, Reid promised to rescind the cuts in a separate bill — the Doctor Fix — which the House has already passed. That would cost $210 billion over the next ten years and blow a big hole in the ObamaCare financials. Reid failed to get it passed, however, and has flip-flopped on the rescinding of the cuts a number of times.
The doctors support the bill because they know that Congress will eventually rescind the cuts; otherwise, providers will follow the example set by Mayo and simply stop treating Medicare patients. When Congress rescinds the cuts, ObamaCare becomes a deficit-expanding program. Harry Reid’s double-talk should be a giant red flag for anyone interested in honest government, fiscal responsibility, or both.