The background: Obamacare assumed in its ‘official’ numbers cuts in Medicare payments to doctors; this has been scheduled for some time, but every year there was a ‘doc fix‘ to keep the cuts from being enacted. The merits of the doc fix can be argued later: what is important here is that the Democrats used these supposedly planned cuts to make Obamacare look fiscally responsible, and the Republicans loudly pointed out that the Democrats had no intention of actually making the cuts, thus giving one more data point to support the argument that Obamacare was a passel of lies. There was even a memo (later frantically declared fake, but never confirmed fake) noting that after the passage of Obamacare there’d be time to do the doc fix, so no need to talk about it at the time.
Lo. Obamacare has passed, and the President wants to talk about stopping the doc fix.
More than a decade ago, Congress set up a formula that governs how doctors get paid by the Medicare program. The intent was to slow the growth of Medicare costs, but the result was a formula that has proposed cutting payments for America’s doctors year after year after year. These are cuts that would not only jeopardize our physicians’ pay, but our seniors’ health care.
Since 2003, Congress has acted to prevent these pay cuts from going into effect. These votes were largely bipartisan, and they succeeded when Democrats ran Congress and when Republicans ran Congress – which was most of the time.
This year, a majority of Congress is willing to prevent a pay cut of 21% — a pay cut that would undoubtedly force some doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients altogether. But this time, some Senate Republicans may even block a vote on this issue.
I find Ed Morrissey’s response on this to be accurate, but overly verbose. My response to the President can be summed up in two words: the second one is ‘you.’
Crossposted to Moe Lane.