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March 16, 2015

Democratic Controlled House Of Representatives Considering Proposal To Add 100+ Billion Dollars In Deficit Spending

If only the GOP had won last November none of this would be happening.

House leaders are closing in on a deal to permanently avert cuts in payments to physicians under Medicare, two House aides confirmed Friday.

The deal would offset only about $70 billion of the more than $200 billion cost of making the permanent fix, however. This would likely draw opposition from conservatives over budget concerns.

So, $130 billion in new deficit spending to "permanently" deal with the "Doc-fix?" Swell.

What's the "Doc-fix" you might ask and why is it such a problem? Well, it's a problem that needs "fixing" because it cuts spending. That's the only kind of "problem" DC ever tries to fix.

Back in the 90s the GOP Congress set up caps on reimbursement rates doctors could charge Medicare. This seemed like a fun idea because at the time rates were no where near the cap. Well, early in the 2000s the rates when up and the caps were reached. Their bluff called, Congress promptly folded and passed the first of 17 "doc-fixes" to ensure the spice, er, money flowed.

Back in 2009 Obama swore they would never do another doc-fix and counted the cuts that everyone knew would never be implemented as savings to make the ObamaCare numbers work.

They lied.

So now the GOP has decided to ride to rescue and simply up the numbers "permanently" or for 10 years which is what counts as "permenant" in federal budgeting.

You'd think all that money flowing would be enough to get Democrats to sign on but you'd be wrong. They apparently need some carrots to give Boehner the votes. Hey, they've got the guy by the short hairs, might as well cash in.

For quite a while now, aides and lawmakers have expected another patch — Congress has now opted for a short-term SGR solution 17 times — but there have also been some rumors that a deal could come together where the SGR formula would be repealed and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would be extended. Republicans could win on some yet-to-be-named changes to the Medicare payment system, while the extension — even potential expansion — of the Children’s Health Insurance Program would be a carrot to Democrats.

So the GOP, the allegedly majority party, gets some unnamed future gimmicks that won't cut spending and the Democrats get a hike in spending for one of their most cherished spending programs.

You remember SCHIP, don't you? It's the plan the GOP gave to the Democrats as a consolation prize for defeating HillaryCare back in the 90s.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a conservative Republican, today embraced a major Democratic effort to provide health insurance for half of the nation's 10 million uninsured children, saying he would become the chief sponsor of the legislation.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, wrote much of the bill, which would increase the Federal tax on tobacco products to finance health care for children.

The two Senators announced their plans at a conference of the Children's Defense Fund. Congress has barely begun work on the legislation. No hearings have been held, and the tax increase on cigarettes faces an uphill battle. But Mr. Hatch's announcement was a coup for advocates of child health programs, including many Democrats

George W. Bush vetoed previous Democratic attempts to expand the program back in 2007 to cover increasingly well off kids and families but signed off a two year fix that kept eligibility levels the same. Obama "fixed" that in 2009.

Oh and the last time Boehner brought up the "doc-fix" he didn't have enough GOP votes so he held a surprise "voice vote" no one knew was happening to ram it through.

See, when Democrats lose they comeback for incremental gains later. When the GOP wins, they comeback for incremental Democratic gains later.

Neat, huh?

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posted by DrewM. at 10:38 AM

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