Dems’ slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint | Washington Examiner
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
November 13, 2009
Something unusual and largely unnoticed happened last week as Democrats pushed the national health care bill through the House. In a complicated, late-night maneuver, on a party-line vote, the House Rules Committee used the health bill to pave the way for a $210 billion increase in Medicare payments to doctors, without any money budgeted to pay for it. Congress then combined that $210 billion with a measure that would force lawmakers to exercise fiscal discipline — except when it came to the $210 billion.
It was a particularly slick move, even by congressional standards. With one vote, committee Democrats managed to propose spending a huge amount of money while also claiming to clamp down on spending. More importantly, they threw a very big bone to several physicians organizations, which badly want the increased doctor payments and to whom Democrats are deeply indebted for support of health care legislation. And at the same time, they gave cover to moderate Democrats, who are under pressure to support health reform but also fear the wrath of voters concerned about overspending.
This is pretty much the same sort of move the Senate voted down earlier. I, like every other doctor, wants the SGR problem fixed, but this isn’t the way to do it.