Action Alert: Doc Fix will Cost America $500 Billion

Doc Fix will Cost America $500 Billion

A report released by the Congressional Budget Office confirms the doc fix deal negotiated by Speaker Boehner and Nancy Pelosi is a budget buster. It could drive America $500 billion further into debt.

It’s irresponsible, unsustainable, and worse than we originally thought.

Even President Obama has publicly said he’s ready to sign this so-called doc fix. If Barack Obama is eager to sign it and Nancy Pelosi has blessed it, you know it can’t be good.

The House is scheduled to vote on the Doc Fix deal today – and many lawmakers are still on the fence.

> > Don’t let your Representative cave into pressure and approve $500 billion of debt. Call them today.

Conservatives have a principled plan that solves the problems of Medicare. But Boehner and Pelosi are trying to take the easy way out: adding hundreds of billions to our nation’s already massive debt.

Make the call to your lawmaker today and tell them to vote “NO” to the Doc Fix plan.

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SGR “Doc Fix” Resource Page

Policy Analysis

Deficit Impact Analysis

Other Analysis

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FAQ: $400 Billion Doc Fix Deal FAQ (H.R. 2)

Status: Congress periodically overrides a 1997 law that attempts to contain the cost of Medicare payments to doctors.  It prevents the cuts from going into effect with legislation called the “doc fix.”  This year, Medicare payments to physicians will be reduced 21 percent if no doc fix passes by March 31st. While Congress normally passes short-term fixes that are paid for, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are attempting to pass a massive package that could increase the debt by more than $400 billion over two decades, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB).

Isn’t SGR just a budget fiction?

No. SGR would impose real, immediate cuts in Medicare if Congress doesn’t act.  These are real cuts that are scheduled to go into effect under current law.

How has the SGR been dealt with in the past? What do these “doc fixes” usually look like?

Because SGR was originally intended to bring Medicare costs to a sustainable level, Congress has almost always tried to maintain that spirit by coupling the doc fix with real cuts and reforms elsewhere in the healthcare system, usually through the Medicare program. In fact, the SGR has led to real health care reforms over the years, totaling $165 billion since 2002. An analysis done by the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) indicates that 98 percent of doc fixes have been offset with cuts elsewhere.

But aren’t these doc fix “offsets” usually gimmicks?

No. The same study mentioned above from CRFB estimates that only a fraction of the overall doc fix offsets could be classified as gimmicks.  Past doc fixes have contained small, but important structural reforms to Medicare as well as reductions in other areas of federal spending.

Why is SGR so important?

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Repeal Effort Alive and Well as Obamacare Turns Five

“When I sign this bill, all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform.”

That was President Barack Obama’s hope five years ago when he signed Obamacare into law.  His claim was not without historical precedent, as Social Security, Medicare and even Medicaid were swiftly accepted by Republicans.  And to be fair, some leading Republicans even said full repeal of Obamacare was “frankly a distraction.”

Fortunately, conservatives all around the country and conservative leaders in Congress refused to accept “no repeal” as the Republican Party’s position.   Five years later, Obamacare’s grip on our economy and health care choices has hardened, but it has not calcified.  The Associated Press casually noted “permanence of the president’s achievement remains in question” to this day.

The law’s future remains uncertain because full repeal has become the Republican Party’s position – a position that delivered a historic majority in the House and the first Senate majority in nearly a decade.  Now it is time for those majorities to continue the fight against Obamacare by sending a bill to repeal all of Obamacare to the President’s desk.

Doing so will send a signal to everyone – hospitals, insurance companies, politicians, lobbyists and voters – that Obamacare will be repealed in 2017 if Republicans hold the House and Senate and win the White House next year.

Obama’s signature achievement, a policy that has hurt millions of Americans, could be wiped from the books in less than two years.  To accomplish that though, Republicans in Congress must begin leading.

 

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What they said on the doc fix … in 2009

In 2009, conservatives and Republicans were united in their demand that any repeal of Medicare’s SGR be fully offset… 

John Boehner (R-OH): Irresponsible ‘Doc Fix’ Proves Democrats “Cannot Help Themselves” (November 19, 2009)

”This irresponsible ‘doc fix’ proves once again that out-of-touch Washington Democrats simply cannot help themselves when it comes to piling debt on our kids and grandkids. Democrats continue to add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit while promising to eventually end their unprecedented spending binge.”

John Boehner (R-OH): Congressional Record (November 19, 2009)

That’s the real issue here, the fact that there is no pay-for here. There is no offsetting other types of spending. There are no increases in revenue somewhere to cover this. It’s just going to be dumped onto the backs of our kids and grandkids. The American people want us to relearn fiscal responsibility. My colleagues on my side of the aisle over the course of this year have stood up, I believe, for fiscal responsibility. And if we’re going to get our economy going again, we’d better get our fiscal house in order as well.

Joe Barton (R-TX): Congressional Record (November 19, 2009)

Mr. Speaker, the only fix that’s in this bill before us is “the fix is in.” …  It is a wave the magic wand, erase the accumulated deficit of the last 10 years or so in the SGR formula, and let’s kick the can on down the road.

Ed Whitfield (R-KY): Congressional Record (November 19, 2009)

As I have said, both parties have a lot of blame for the debt that we’re in, and the American people want us to be responsible. We have a $12 trillion debt today. Within 10 years, it’s supposed to be $23 trillion. At some point, we have to meet our obligation, meet our responsibility and try to pay for some of these programs. All of us support the purpose of this legislation, but there must be a way that we can do it and have it paid for. So for that reason, I would have great difficulty voting for this legislation without it being clearly paid for.

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