Reid offers doctors a deal

By Alexander Bolton
The Hill
10/20/09

The White House and Democratic leaders are offering doctors a deal: They’ll freeze cuts in Medicare payments to doctors in exchange for doctors’ support of healthcare reform.

At a meeting on Capitol Hill last week with nearly a dozen doctors groups, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate would take up separate legislation to halt scheduled Medicare cuts in doctor payments over the next 10 years. In return, Reid made it clear that he expected their support for the broader healthcare bill, according to four sources in the meeting…

…the primary focus of the meeting was on Democratic plans to bring to the Senate floor a standalone bill costing nearly $250 billion that would freeze cuts in doctors’ payments mandated by a 1997 law. Without the freeze, doctors would see their Medicare payments drop by 21 percent next year and by 40 percent by 2016. The bill’s costs are not offset by tax increases or spending cuts at a time when the Obama administration estimates the federal deficit at $1.4 trillion…

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