Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2015

‘Doc Fix’ Deal Passes Without Roll Call Vote (Updated) (Video)

In the Senate, Wyden noted he is pushing a 10-year fix to the Medicare formula and would rather not take up the yearlong policy, calling it a “flawed proposal” that is “bad for seniors, bad for doctors and bad for all concerned.”

The Oregon Democrat said Boehner is on an island and announced the deal prematurely.

“What the speaker has said, at this point, speaks for the speaker. I’ve had conversations with Sen. Reid and they’ve been ongoing and he’s very much aware of what we’re doing,” he said.

But a senior Democratic aide later said Reid would back the short-term bill if it gets out of the House.

“Hatch talked to Reid this evening on the phone and informed him there would be no Republican votes for the Wyden plan,” the aide said Wednesday. “So it looks like the short-term Boehner patch plan is the only one that can pass right now — and we’ll support if it comes over.”

Wyden’s colleague on the Finance Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., earlier inferred that Wyden may in fact be the one scuttling a deal between Boehner and Reid.

“Ordinarily a Finance chairman doesn’t come in and screw up a speaker and a majority leader, right?” he said.

Either way, Fleming said he and many members of the Doctors Caucus want to push the long-term fix as well.

“We agree with Wyden. If you’re going to do something, let’s do the 10-year thing. If we patch this thing for another year, all we’re doing is letting the cord wood stack up. We’re not solving problems,” he said. “This is one way to get something huge off the table, at least for 10 years.”

Wyden said he was talking to Democrats and Republicans, yet his proposal may find no traction in the Senate. He said it pays for the 10-year, roughly $140 billion price from war funds, gleaned from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics of the budgeting technique say it is a gimmick because the money would never have been spent anyway.

House Republicans have long said they will not take up any legislation that uses those war funds as an offset. Wyden acknowledged that the offset is “not exactly realistic budgeting,” but said the doc fix is “budget fakery” too.

Pelosi expressed support for Wyden’s efforts Thursday.

“I wish Sen. Wyden well, of course, because he’s on the right course, he’s doing the good thing, and it makes all the sense in the world. It’s the right way to go. It costs less, does more, ends the discussion,” she said. “And so it’s hard to understand why the Republicans think that this is our only option.”

Meanwhile, members and doctors groups are concerned that a short-term fix would kill the momentum for a long-term fix. Boehner tried to scuttle that talk, telling reporters that the yearlong deal “does not preclude any work from being done on the long-term fix in terms of how we pay doctors.”

Nevertheless, several provider groups spoke out Wednesday against the short-term patch, saying another fix could hurt a bipartisan policy agreement to replace the Medicare physician payment system.

“Now is the time for Congress to resolve the remaining differences over how to address the budget impact of the bipartisan and bicameral SGR repeal and Medicare payment reform policies that both chambers and parties say that they support,” said American College of Physicians President Molly Cooke in a letter to House and Senate leadership. “There will never be a better time.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians also expressed disappointment and concern with the short-term patch. President Reid Blackwelder said in a statement that, “Congress is moving away from, rather than toward the goal.”

Emma Dumain, Steven T. Dennis, Matt Fuller and Emily Ethridge contributed to this report.


More coverage:

Secret ‘Doc Fix’ Deal Angers Rank-and-File

  • Debby Ward

    get rid of welfare and medicaid, NOT what the hard working tax payers earned when their money went into SS and Medicare..

    • Raylusk

      You forget that the amount those hard working tax payers put into Social Security and Medicare doesn’t even come close to covering the Federal Governments cost of providing those services. But there are ways to fix this with out taking it out on the poor which is what you proposed. How about returning to the effective tax rates that the wealthy paid after Reagan’s first tax cut? That would provide plenty of revenue.

  • Diogenesxxx

    Did Senator Rockefeller infer it or did he imply it?

  • Six Edits

    While collectivism and altruism are often considered synonymous, it is egoism that opposes altruism & individualism that opposes collectivism.

  • Doug Watson

    Does ANYONE really believe John Boehner as ANY clout at all with his fellow House Republicans? He’s the Speaker in name only with little else!

  • Gyst53

    It would be interesting to see if a Barber’s haircuts were paid for by the Government how much the haircut would cost!

    We don’t want the Docs’s to go destitute now would we?
    The physician salary survey below allows you to identify trends in physician salaries and compensation across numerous specialties.


    National 6 yrs Practicing Average

    Allergy & Immunology
    Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery
    Colon & Rectal Surgery
    Critical Care Medicine
    Diagnostic Radiology – Interventional
    Diagnostic Radiology – Non-Interventional
    Family Medicine
    Family Medicine – with Obstetrics
    General Surgery
    Gynecological Oncology
    Gynecology & Obstetrics
    Hematology & Medical Oncology
    Infectious Disease
    Internal Medicine
    Neurological Surgery
    Orthopedic Surgery
    Orthopedic Surgery – Pediatrics
    Orthopedic Surgery – Spine
    Pediatric Cardiology
    Pediatric Endocrinology
    Pediatric Gastroenterology
    Pediatric Hematology / Oncology
    Pediatric Infectious Disease
    Pediatric Intensive Care
    Pediatric Nephrology
    Pediatric Neurology
    Pediatric Pulmonary Disease
    Pediatric Surgery
    Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
    Plastic Surgery
    Psychiatry – Child
    Pulmonary Disease
    Trauma Surgery
    Urgent Care
    Vascular Surgery
    This Physician Salary Survey is based on 2011-12 nationwide, confidential survey of over 80,000 practicing physicians.

    • crusader2010

      Now add in Medical school costs. and see what you get. fees, licenses and malpractice insurance also.

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