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 »
With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."