Updated: Dems Threaten Budget Deal Over ‘Doc-Fix’, Unemployment Insurance

Left balks at proposal to take care of doctors but drop support for unemployed.

Hastings: Calls allegations lies.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Dec. 11, 2013, 11:04 a.m.

House Demo­crats don’t want to pass a “doc fix” without ex­tend­ing un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance, and they’re threat­en­ing to sink the budget deal over it.

“If we’re go­ing to provide re­im­burse­ment to phys­i­cians, and I fa­vor that, I think we need to be sure we don’t leave 1.3 mil­lion people out in the cold,” said Rep. Sander Lev­in of Michigan at the House Rules Com­mit­tee meet­ing Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

The pro­posed doc fix would delay for three months a 20 per­cent cut in re­im­burse­ments to phys­i­cians who provide ser­vices for Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies, as in­sti­tuted by the Sus­tain­able Growth Rate for­mula. Con­gress had tried for a bi­par­tis­an, bicam­er­al per­man­ent fix in 2013, but with two com­mit­tees set to mark up the le­gis­la­tion Thursday, will not com­plete it un­til the be­gin­ning of the year.

But by re­open­ing the deal to in­clude a fix to phys­i­cian re­im­burse­ment, the budget pact’s shep­herds open them­selves to a host of re­quests to ac­com­mod­ate oth­er pri­or­it­ies.

“I per­son­ally am con­flic­ted as to wheth­er I will vote on this” budget deal, said Rep. Al­cee Hast­ings, D-Fla. “I can’t leave that many people by the way­side un­less I have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing about what’s hap­pen­ing here.”

Un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance pay­ments to ap­prox­im­ately 1.3 mil­lion people will ex­pire Dec. 28 without con­gres­sion­al ac­tion. Demo­crats hope to fore­stall that by pro­pos­ing a three-month ex­ten­sion of the be­ne­fits along with the three-month doc-fix pro­pos­al.

“The fail­ure to act on UI and hav­ing to do so on [phys­i­cian re­im­burse­ment] puts the en­tire bill at risk,” Lev­in said. “It’s not a cut of 25 per­cent — it’s 100 per­cent elim­in­a­tion of their be­ne­fits. It’s his­tor­ic­ally high.”

The com­mit­tee met Wed­nes­day to mark up the Medi­care meas­ure along with the Bi­par­tis­an Budget Act of 2013, the deal hammered out by Rep. Paul Ry­an, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Mur­ray, D-Wash. and an­nounced late Tues­day.

Up­date 7 p.m.: The three-month SGR pro­pos­al was re­por­ted out of com­mit­tee on a vote of 9-3.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×