It is now the House of Representatives’ turn to further enable Obamacare. Later today, the House will vote on a $210 billion “doc fix” that is not paid for and would dramatically add to the deficit. Similar legislation was blocked in the Senate by a vote of 47 to 53 after Redstate readers took to the phones to stop it. 13 Democrats joined with all Republicans in standing with taxpayers.
Here is a refresher. The bill is a payoff to a powerful lobbying group—a $210 billion package for the American Medical Association. The funding is not offset and would dramatically increase the deficit. Democrats are betting that the bill will prove politically impossible for most Congressmen, including Republicans, to oppose as it addresses the number one priority for most doctors over the years—the fact that Medicare doesn’t reimburse them enough. By considering the “doc fix” apart from overall healthcare reform, Democrats remove a major cost to that package. As Senator McConnell said when the bill was before the Senate, “This is so transparent. They’re taking this issue out of health care, suggesting that we spend a quarter of a trillion dollars, not pay for it, so that they can then argue, the very next week potentially, that this trillion-dollar health care bill is paid for.”
The strategy is simple. Payoff the docs, make your bill appear to cost less, and force Republicans to choose between their doctors and the fiscal health of the nation.
Now to be fair even many conservatives agree that Medicare’s physician reimbursements are set ridiculously low, amounting to a form of price controls on the system. And since doctors don’t have to participate in Medicare or take new seniors on as patients, if reimbursements are set too low, it creates access problems. That has led many to support short-term fixes that are often paid for with other spending reductions as stop-gaps until the overall system could be reformed. But let’s remember something folks. Medicare is a government-run healthcare program—the fact that it proves so costly that price controls are adopted is exactly what we’ve been arguing the future holds if Obamacare gets passed. Making it work right is not something that Republicans in Congress should sell their soul to fix and its certainly not something that should be allowed to enable a government takeover of the health care system.
Republicans need to fight this for what it is—nearly a quarter of a trillion dollar payoff to the AMA to get them to keep supporting Obamacare. This will be a great litmus test of whether Republican claims of fiscal responsibility have any merit whatsoever. It’s easy to oppose a nearly trillion dollar stimulus and a nearly trillion dollar health takeover. It’s hard to tell your doctors back home, in the words of the immortal Meatloaf, that you’d do anything for love but won’t you do that. But that is exactly how we activists will ever know that Republicans have gotten our message—when they learn to say no to their voters when it comes to spending.
A brief message to you doctors out there, many of you good Republicans. Seriously, chill out. Congress is not going to let your reimbursements get cut so stop believing your AMA spam—the same people who are no doubt enjoying their coffee and donuts over in Rahm Emmanuel’s office. These people (at least their lobbyists in DC) don’t want you to be free; they want you to be slaves to government in as much as many of you are already to Medicare. Don’t let that happen on your watch and with your dues and don’t be fooled by this shell game happening in the House of Representatives.
Call your Congressman—particularly those of you in Republican districts—and tell them to oppose a $210 billion doc fix that isn’t paid for and enables the passage of Obamacare.