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October 21, 2009

Doctors' "Fix" Bill Near Collapse?
Now Post-Collapse: Fails to Even Garner a Majority

As part of the plan to (giggle) buy doctors' support for ObamaCare (those free white smocks apparently weren't enough), the Democrats wanted to freeze -- forestall -- cuts in their Medicare reimbursements mandated by a 1997 law.

In other words, they want to pay doctors more than what the 1997 law provides for, and the AMA was willing to bless this boondoggle if they just forked over that $247 billion.

They thought that the vote would be easy as they had 27 Republican votes to make up for the 5 known Democratic defectors. But they don't.

Reid is claiming that he was "misled" by the AMA into thinking those 27 Republican votes were there.

The Senate is expected to reject a motion by Reid to begin debate on a doctor payment when it votes on the issue shortly after 2 p.m. on Wednesday. At least five Democrats have said they would not support legislation to shore up doctors’ payments unless it was paid for. Reid brought the $247 billion bill to the Senate floor this week as part of a deal to secure the support of doctors groups such as the AMA for passage of a separate, broader healthcare reform bill later this year. But the strategy has backfired. Reid knew that he needed Republican votes because of several centrist Democrats made it clear to him before this week that they would not vote for the so-called “doctor fix” if its cost was not offset. Reid though he could count on a few Republican crossover votes. Now, Democrats concede that they will not be able to muster the 60 votes needed to proceed to the bill. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a brief hallway interview that he didn’t think the motion to proceed to the bill would pass. Reid told reporters on Wednesday that he was led to believe that more than two dozen Republicans would vote for the bill, though he did not mention the AMA by name.

When the day started, I thought this was going to pass. So, that seems good.

Did the Republicans trick Reid?

Two Points: One, everyone in Washington knows this measure is intended to buy the AMA's support for ObamaCare -- so it should be included in the costs of ObamaCare. The Democrats want to pretend it's a standalone, unrelated bill and so "save" $247 billion from the costs of ObamaCare.

Two, it shows the absolute horseshit of Congress promising to make cuts to a government program ten years down the line. This measure, I'm sure, was passed in 1997 for one reason -- to make it look as if we were doing something to contain the exploding costs of Medicaid and Medicare. Well, the cuts promised -- "mandated" by law -- 12 years ago are now due, and Congress of course scrambles to rescind the cuts and restore payments to what they would have been without the 1997 "cuts."

But we're supposed to believe that the various measures that supposedly bring down the costs of ObamaCare, set to occur conveniently in the future, will be carried through?


Cloture Fails... by a lot. 47 vote yes on cloture, 53 against. (Former Klansman Robert Byrd returned to the Senate.)

Not even 50 votes for it.






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