Doc Fix: Another Massive Budget Gimmick

Today, as part of the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the House will be voting on the “Pathway to SGR Reform Act of 2013,” which extends a number of expiring Medicare provisions, but its main purpose is to prevent the 24% reimbursement cut for physicians serving Medicare patients scheduled to occur next year.

These so-called “doc fixes” have been commonplace in Congress since 2003, when the provider cuts from the Balanced Budget Act of1997 first prompted Congress to act to prevent payment cuts for doctors (for more on the Sustainable Growth Rate, aka the SGR, see this Backgrounder from the Heritage Foundation). However, these temporary measures are usually fully paid for using legitimate savings elsewhere in the Medicare program.

Unfortunately, today’s doc fix bill does not continue the trend of fully offset SGR patches.

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The spend-now-cut-later budget deal negotiated by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) will be voted on in the House this week.

While increasing spending in the budget by tens of billions of dollars might be acceptable to the Washington establishment, conservatives will not stand for it. Now is the time to call your Representative to oppose the Ryan-Murray budget deal.

>> Call your Representative now.

On top of raising the spending caps for 2014 and 2015, the budget deal will breath life into the already dead Obama legislative agenda, including immigration reform. The budget also includes revenue increases to pay for the increased spending.

Call Your Representative Now

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Surprise! CBO Says Health Care Spending Will Cause U.S. Debt to Reach Record Heights

A report issued today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook, indicates that health care spending in the U.S. is going to cause our debt to reach record high levels.

This is definitely not a surprise; conservatives, researchers at the Heritage Foundation among many others, have been warning politicians about this for years.

Back in 2012, Heritage’s Alyene Senger noted that Obamacare’s entitlement spending will make this problem dramatically worse in the years ahead:

Obamacare’s major provisions begin to kick in in 2014, and this will result in federal spending for health care programs other than Medicare and Medicaid rising from $26 billion this year to $161 billion in 2022. 

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Morning Action: Senate to Vote on Motion to Proceed for Gun Bill

GUNS. The Senate will vote today at 11 AM on a motion to proceed for their gun bill:

But the first debate Thursday will be the threatened filibuster led by Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Lee said a filibuster would allow “three more days to assess how the bill would impact the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“This debate is not just about magazine clips and pistol grips,” he said on the Senate floor. “It’s about the purpose of the Second Amendment.” Such far-reaching legislation should be subjected to a 60-vote majority to ensure bipartisan consensus, he said.

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The President’s Budget Decisions Have Consequences for Taxpayers

Ever wish there was more transparency in government?  Care how your taxpayer dollars are being spent and how much you owe on the deficit?

Yesterday the House passed legislation (sub. req’d) that would “require that annual budget submissions of the President to Congress provide an estimate of the cost per taxpayer of the deficit, and for other purposes.”  The bill, H.R. 668, passed 392-28 under suspension of the rules, an expedited procedure that limits debate and amendments and requires a two-thirds majority for passage.  The deficit requirement would apply to all future budgets as well. 

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