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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
LOTS TO DISCUSS
European Commission President to Visit White House
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

With President Trump back from a trip in which he seemed to undermine European alliances while cozying up to Vladimir Putin, the White House has announced that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit on July 25. According to a statement, the two "will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership."

501(c)4 GROUPS AFFECTED
IRS Relaxes Reporting Rules for Dark Money Groups
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
POOR REVIEWS HIDDEN FROM PUBLIC
House Launches Investigation Into VA Nursing Homes
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The House Veterans Affairs Committee has launched an investigation into care at the VA’s 133 nursing homes after learning the agency had given almost half of them the lowest possible score in secret, internal rankings. The probe follows an investigation by The Boston Globe and USA TODAY that showed 60 VA nursing homes ... rated only one out of five stars for quality last year in the agency’s own ranking system." Internal documents revealed that "patients in more than two-thirds of VA nursing homes were more likely to suffer pain and serious bedsores than their private sector counterparts, and that "VA nursing homes scored worse than private nursing homes on a majority of key quality indicators, including rates of anti-psychotic drug prescription and decline in daily living skills."

Source:
"LIGHT-TOUCH" REGULATION
House Republican Introduces Net Neutrality Legislation
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Colorado Representative Mike Coffman has introduced a bill "that would codify free internet regulations into law" by instituting the "basic outlines of the Federal Communication Commission’s 2015 Open Internet order." Coffman's bill amends the 1934 Telecommunications Act by "banning providers from controlling traffic quality and speed and forbidding them from participating in paid prioritization programs or charging access fees from edge providers." The GOP congressman has also "signed on to a Democrat-led effort to reinstate the net neutrality rules that the FCC voted to repeal late last year."

Source:
LINKED TO NRA
DOJ Indicts Another Russian National
22 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login