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March 26, 2015

GOP: Let Us Show You Our Commitment To "Governing" By Adding Hundreds Of Billions Dollars To The National Debt

The House just voted to "permanently" deal with the Medicare "doc fix". Sure the deal cut between Pelosi and Boehner adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt but at least the GOP fought tooth and nail against it and made the vote close. It passed 329-37, with all of 34 Republicans voting against it. Oh.

Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have been in negotiations over the measure since January, and worked quietly to bring their members behind it.

Only 33 Republicans and 4 Democrats voted against the bill.

Pelosi praised the deal, saying it had been a “privilege” to work with Boehner “in a bipartisan way on this legislation.

"I hope it will be a model of things to come," she said.

Boehner likewise touted the bipartisanship, and argued pass of the bill was a step toward broader entitlement reform.

"This is what we can accomplish when we focus on finding common ground," he said.

Obama supports the bill as well.

And while we're handing out prizes, even Hillary Clinton gets a little something out of it. As part of the deal to get Democratic votes Boehner didn't need, he included a two year extension of CHIP at levels even George W. Bush thought was too high.

But everyone loves spending money on "the children" so the GOP threw it in to avoid having to fight about it later. And if it helps Hillary win in 2016, all the better I guess.

When Clinton ran for president in 2008, she touted her role as first lady in "designing and championing" the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which provided coverage for millions of children whose parents did not qualify for Medicaid but could not afford private insurance. At the time President Clinton signed the law in 1997, it constituted the largest expansion of government-funded children's health insurance since the enactment of Medicaid in 1965.

Now Republicans will say they had to do this because the yearly fixes were just, I don't know, too successful at curbing spending.

Others, meanwhile, have involved some real if very modest structural reforms allowing some more market pricing here and there. The latter two kinds of offsets, whatever their merits as health economics, are real cost cutters, and they have saved more than $150 billion over the past decade, according to CBO. In this sense, although the SGR itself has not worked, and although it has put Congress through an annual shaming, it actually has saved a significant amount of money—in fact it is probably the most successful cost-reduction mechanism in Medicare’s 50-year history. That isn’t saying much, but it’s something.

Whoa! Whoa! A program that actually cuts spending or at least doesn't add to the deficit and debt? We can't have that! What kind of monster are you?

Funny, but I don't recall this being the pitch back in November.

Can we stop pretending the GOP has anything to offer conservatives other than some sweet talk around election time that's promptly ignored?

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posted by DrewM. at 12:27 PM

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