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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2009 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Dems' slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint

By Byron York




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Something unusual and largely unnoticed happened last week as Democrats pushed the national health care bill through the House. In a complicated, late-night maneuver, on a party-line vote, the House Rules Committee used the health bill to pave the way for a $210 billion increase in Medicare payments to doctors, without any money budgeted to pay for it. Congress then combined that $210 billion with a measure that would force lawmakers to exercise fiscal discipline -- except when it came to the $210 billion.

It was a particularly slick move, even by congressional standards. With one vote, committee Democrats managed to propose spending a huge amount of money while also claiming to clamp down on spending. More importantly, they threw a very big bone to several physicians organizations, which badly want the increased doctor payments and to whom Democrats are deeply indebted for support of health care legislation. And at the same time, they gave cover to moderate Democrats, who are under pressure to support health reform but also fear the wrath of voters concerned about overspending.

This is how it worked. Before the House can begin final debate and vote on a bill, the Rules Committee has to first pass a rule setting the terms of the process. How long will debate last? Will amendments be allowed? How many?

Normally, when the Rules Committee creates a rule, it does so for a single bill. "One bill, one rule," says a veteran GOP Hill aide. But when it came to the health care bill, Democrats took the unusual step of combining the health bill and the $210 billion physician payment measure in a single rule; they were worried the doctor bill might fail if it were considered on its own.

The bill reverses scheduled cuts in Medicare payments to physicians. For years Congress has vowed to make gradual cuts, and for years it has put them off. All those unmade cuts would add up to a 21 percent reduction next year, unless Congress put them off again. Sure enough, bills were introduced in the House and Senate this year to cancel the 21 percent cut and replace it with an increase -- what has become known as the "doctor fix."

It's expensive. The Senate's version of the doctor fix would cost $245 billion -- again, without any provision to pay for it. There was so much concern about cost that in late October, 13 Democratic senators joined all 40 Republicans in blocking it.

The House's version of the doctor fix costs $210 billion. Like the Senate's, not a penny is paid for. After the failure in the Senate, the House leadership feared Democrats might join Republicans to block it. The doctor fix might never get out of the Rules Committee.

But the fix is a top priority of the American Medical Association, which is calling in its IOU for supporting national health care. The fix is "an essential element of health reform," AMA President James Rohack said recently. His message to the House: Get it done.

So the Democratic leadership came up with the plan to attach the doctor fix to the rule setting terms for the health care debate. When one passed, the other would, too.

But what about all those Democrats concerned about $210 billion in new spending? For them, the leadership added a clause that said when the doctor fix bill reached the final stages of House consideration, it would automatically be joined with an existing bill requiring the House to pay for the spending measures it passed -- a measure called Pay-Go.

But it just happens that the Democratic version of Pay-Go contains a specific exemption for the doctor fix. So the House could approve a measure that would cost $210 billion, have no way to pay for it and still meet the requirements it has set for itself in terms of restraining spending.

It's quite a trick. "This was to keep the physicians organizations on board with the underlying monstrosity of the health care bill," says Republican Rep. Tom Price, of Georgia, himself a doctor. "It also gives Democrats a headline that says, 'We're serious about spending,' while at the same time demonstrating that they're not serious about spending."

The House will probably vote on it next week. It might well pass, especially because Democrats can claim it's all part of a move to impose strict fiscal discipline. And they've already set the rules: There will be just one hour of debate, with no amendments allowed.

When it comes to the doctor fix, the fix is already in.

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Previously:




11/10/09 Obama can't be community organizer for the world
11/02/09 At key moment, Obama leaves health post unfilled 10/26/09 ‘Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care’
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
10/05/09 Amid terror threat, Dems chip away at Patriot Act
09/27/09 In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors
09/21/09 Under fire, Democrats abandon ACORN in drove
09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
09/07/09 Obama's speech: Wrong setting for a sales job
09/01/09 What happened to the antiwar movement?
08/24/09 Why Dems may jam through health care plan
08/17/09 GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010
08/10/09 The empty words of a journalist turned flack
08/03/09 Probe finds new clues in AmeriCorps IG scandal
07/27/09 Obamacare haunted by unkept promises of stimulus
07/20/09 Why the GOP failed the Sotomayor test
07/13/09 What the GOPers will ask Sotomayor
06/29/09 Serious questions remain for Mark Sanford
06/22/09 How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
06/16/09 Worried about Sotomayor? Consider Andre Davis
06/08/09 Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?
06/01/09 When the Dems derailed a Latino nominee
05/26/09 Why the GOP will defeat Obama on healthcare
05/19/09 Rosy report can't hide stimulus problems
05/12/09 The Reagan legacy is the man himself
05/05/09 Sen. Specter, meet your new friends
04/27/09 Ted Olson: ‘Torture’ probes will never end
04/20/09 Who's Laughing at the ‘Axis of Evil’ today?
04/14/09 Congress needs Google to track stimulus money
04/06/09 Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
03/30/09 On Spending and the Deficit, McCain Was Right
03/24/09 It's Obama's crisis now
03/17/09: Geithner-Obama economics: A joke that's not funny



© 2009, NEA

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