SGR “Doc Fix” Resource Page

Policy Analysis

Deficit Impact Analysis

Other Analysis

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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send a signal to everyone – hospitals, insurance companies, politicians, lobbyists and voters – that Obamacare will be repealed in 2017 if Republicans hold the House and Senate and win the White House next year.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’re saying on the doc fix: “Don’t increase the deficit”

Conservative and nonpartisan voices say Congress should fully offset the repeal of SGR…

Heritage Foundation’s Bob Moffit:

“Funding a fix is crucial. Last year, the Medicare actuaries estimated that the 75-year cost of an unfunded Medicare doc fix would add another to $2.3 trillion to the already enormous unfunded liabilities of the Medicare program.

“Now, the alarming news. According to Politico Pro, staff level negotiations in the House of Representatives are focused on paying for a relatively small portion of the doc fix, saddling taxpayers with tens of billions of dollars — in extra obligations. Worse, the report advises, the negotiators plan to rationalize not finding offsets by arguing that the SGR was just a “budgetary gimmick” anyway. Such a combination of cynicism and fiscal irresponsibility, if it came to pass, would be breathtaking.”

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

“In total, now, lawmakers have offset 132 out of 135 months of doc fixes since 2004 with equivalent savings, or 98 percent of the time. Even disregarding the few times small gimmicks were used, policymakers still paid for these delays 94 percent of the time – with almost all of those savings coming from health care programs.

“Although the SGR clearly has not functioned as intended, it has served as an action forcing mechanism to prompt targeted health reforms in place of its prescribed blunt, across-the-board cuts.

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (2):

“Lawmakers should go further than the current discussions and pay for the entire package, not just a small portion.”

Washington Post Editorial:

“[S]uccumbing to [this deal] would set back the cause of long-term fiscal reform. To repeat, the sustainable growth rate has not quite worked as intended, but at least its failure never turned into a source of higher deficits. Instead, both parties should treat this as a chance to impose more structural changes, over and above the $37 billion worth contemplated. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has identified $215 billion worth of medical program savings that could help pay for a long-term doc fix without altering eligibility or other fundamentals in either Medicare and Medicaid.

“For all the polarization and partisanship of a dysfunctional Congress, Republicans and Democrats have proven many times that they are still capable of agreeing to spend more on entitlements and pay for it through borrowing. They should miss this opportunity to prove that yet again.”

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“Very Large Losses” for Export-Import Bank Project

Fourteen months ago, the taxpayer-backed U.S. Export-Import Bank authorized a $700 million loan to Australia’s richest person, mining heiress Gina Rinehart.  Today, Australia’s Business Spectator (sub. req’d) reported the new mining project “is set for very large losses.”

In the short term, the capital costs for Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine are almost certain to blow out — and a lower iron ore price will make matters worse.

If the current iron ore price decline continues into 2017 and beyond, then Gina Rinehart’s massive $10 billion Roy Hill mine project is set for very large losses when it starts production next year.

And if the reports of safety problems in the construction phase are right, then the capital costs will blow out beyond $10bn, especially if unions start playing hard ball, as they often do when there is a safety cause.

The slump in iron ore didn’t come out of the blue, though.  According to the Business Spectator, “When Roy Hill was being conceived, there were already dark clouds on the iron ore pricing scene.”  Will Rinehart’s Roy Hill Holdings be able to repay the $700 million it owes American taxpayers?  We’ll find out in about seven years.

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58 Republicans Embrace Corporate Welfare

This week lawmakers introduced H.R. 597 to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) 73% authored the bill and 57 other lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors in support.  The Export-Import bank aims to facilitate trade between the U.S. and other nations. In actuality it uses tax payer dollars to provide loans for big business like Solyndra and Boeing.

The Export-Import bank adds fuel to the fire of the crony capitalist nature of Washington DC and must be reformed.

Here’s the conservative response;

“Americans didn’t give Republicans a historic majority to hand out favors to K Street lobbyists and well-connected special interests.  If they want to honor their mandate, they’ll allow Ex-Im to expire and advance policies that creates opportunity for everyone.”

Read the full bill online.

These 57 lawmakers added their names as co-sponsor to the legislation:

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