Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are readying their latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, their 51st attempt to undermine health reform. This latest desperate plan would tie the permanent Medicare ‘doc fix’ to a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. In doing so, the Republican leadership is threatening to blow up bipartisan, bicameral progress toward a permanent Medicare ‘doc fix,’ steering the health and security of our nation’s seniors into a legislative dead-end.
House Republicans have a bold new strategy to attack Obamacare, which involves huge pay cuts for physicians unless Democrats agree to delay the law’s individual mandate to buy insurance.
GOP leaders intend to vote on legislation this week, aides say, to delay the individual mandate in order to fund a “doc fix” that avoids a 24 percent pay cut to physicians under Medicare — which will automatically take effect on April 1 unless Congress acts. Inaction would disrupt the health care system, in part by causing many doctors to stop accepting Medicare patients.
The strategy is unlikely to succeed and could backfire on Republicans. Delaying the individual mandate is a nonstarter for the Democratic-led Senate and White House.
But don’t take our word for it. Physicians groups are vocally opposed to the House GOP’s plan. Time is running out, and if Republicans do not come to their senses by the end of the month, seniors will be turned away from their doctors and cut off from the health care they need.
Powerful physician groups that are Washington’s loudest voice for a permanent “doc fix” are shooting down a Republican effort to link the bill to a delay of ObamaCare’s individual mandate…
“The only way this is going to get done if it’s done in a bipartisan fashion,” said Christian Shalgian, director of advocacy and health policy for the American College of Surgeons…
“We cannot support linking SGR repeal to changes in current law that will result in fewer people getting health insurance coverage,” said Molly Cooke, president of the American College of Physicians, in a statement on Friday.
“We are disappointed with the decision to pursue a partisan path,” Ardis Dee Hoven, the president of the American Medical Association, the largest physician lobbying organization, said in a statement.
“The AOA is concerned that a new Medicare physician payment system that values high-quality care will not come to fruition unless the continued advancement of legislation already under consideration has bipartisan spirit…. The AOA does not support any approach to advance this important legislation that potentially interferes with patient access to high-quality care. In the end, our nation’s patients will be the ones most at risk.”
“Unfortunately, House Republican leadership said late this week that they plan to bring the bill to the floor of the House next week with a repeal of the individual mandate as a cost offset…
“ASCRS and the medical community are urging the Senate and House leadership to come together and identify bi-partisan offsets so that H.R. 4015/S. 2000 can be signed into law before April 1.”
America’s seniors deserve better than this cavalier and craven treatment, but House Republicans are committed to playing politics with this essential issue. It is time for them to abandon this irresponsible and dangerous plan and do what needs to be done to pass a bipartisan, sensible and permanent ‘doc fix’ for our seniors.