A $300 billion deception

Congress plays make-believe, but the bill to taxpayers is real.

Washington Post
Sunday, November 15, 2009

HAVING PASSED a health reform bill that is, at least theoretically, paid for, the House of Representatives is poised this week to blow a quarter-trillion-dollar hole in the federal budget involving, you guessed it, health care. This is the so-called doc fix, to prevent scheduled cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians from taking effect.

Say you are a member of Congress who agrees that the cuts should be rescinded — that physician payments shouldn’t be reduced, that is — but also believes that the payments should not add to the national debt? Under the rule governing the House debate, you won’t be allowed to suggest any offsetting savings. Either you go for the doc fix and add massively to the deficit, or you torpedo the fix and wreak havoc in the Medicare program, with a 21 percent cut set to take effect Jan 1. Nice choice. It puts those who believe in both fiscal responsibility and averting these draconian cuts in an impossible situation.

The article continues here.

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