Sunday, March 30, 2014

Medicare Doc Fix Passed, Probably Illegally

Kevin Drum writes John Boehner vs. the Tea Party, Part XVII.

It's hard not to laugh at this. The House Republican leadership needed to pass the annual Medicare doc fix, but they didn't want to raise taxes or cut other spending to pay for it. Nor did they want anyone to be forced to go on record voting for a bill that wasn't paid for. What to do? Answer:

  • Call a recess.
  • Huddle up with Democratic leaders and get their buy-in for a quick voice vote.
  • Do not—repeat: do not—tell tea party types about this.
  • Get back out on the floor pronto and call up a bill that doesn't pay for the doc fix at all. Just put it on the ol' deficit spending credit card.
  • Pass it fast before conservative Republicans realize what's going on and demand a roll-call vote.
  • Hightail it out of Dodge.

More here, Boehner and Cantor Ram Home Unpaid-For Doc-Fix.

The more you look into this the more ridiculous it is. Medicare is extremely popular so cutting it is out of the question. If you're in the tea party, then paying for it is out of the question. This comes up because the fees that doctors can charge are way too low and rather than actually fixing them for good, we do temporary fixes that require votes every few months. And while there are votes to pass this, there aren't enough in just the GOP and Boehner wants to keep the illusion that the Republicans can govern on their own. Or something.

If you watch the CSPAN video of the vote, it probably didn't even pass. Reminds me of the Texas legislature trying to end Wendy Davis' filibuster.

It surprises me that tea party darling Eric Cantor was in on this. Why Did Eric Cantor Just Put More Medicare Spending on the U.S. Credit Card?

Our government is just broken.

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