Remember how President Obama insisted, again and again, that "if you like your current plan, you can keep it." Remember the anger and derision with which he and his administration attacked people who questioned his claims? Remember how much of what Obama said about health-care reform was false?
Well, we're getting the same sort of indignation from Obamacare defenders today regarding GOP rebuttals of the claims the bill reduces the deficit -- even though the bill nakedly gamed the CBO. Liberal bloggers get particularly upset when it's pointed out that one way the Dems tweaked the CBO score was by dropping a long-term "doc fix," -- a hike in Medicare reimbursement rates.
Ezra Klein wrote, "What some Republicans are trying to do is add the doc fix into the Affordable Care Act." Igor Volsky at the Center for American Progress writes: "[Boehner is] arguing that the Democrats artificially lowered the cost of reform by purposely excluding certain provisions — in this case the doc fix — that were part of an earlier draft of the bill or somehow manipulating the 10-year budget window." Volsky's colleague Matt Yglesias got plenty of liberal applause for his snark on Twitter today, "Cost of Iraq War understated because it doesn't include the doc fix."
But look back at the deals Democrats cut to get this bill passed. One of them involved getting the support of the American Medical Association, the second-largest lobbying spender of all time. How'd they do that? Promising to do the Doc Fix under different legislation.
Alex Bolton at The Hill reported in October 2009:
The White House and Democratic leaders are offering doctors a deal: They’ll freeze cuts in Medicare payments to doctors in exchange for doctors’ support of healthcare reform. At a meeting on Capitol Hill last week with nearly a dozen doctors groups, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate would take up separate legislation to halt scheduled Medicare cuts in doctor payments over the next 10 years. In return, Reid made it clear that he expected their support for the broader healthcare bill, according to four sources in the meeting.
So a long-term Doc Fix wasn't part of the bill, but it was part of the same deal. So, either Reid isn't a man of his word, or the CBO score is misleading us.
ADDENDUM: My discussion above is about honest scoring of last's year's bill, and I realize that a more relevant question should be, "how would you score repeal." Since repeal wouldn't repeal the doc fix, Republicans are probably waving a red herring to point out that it should be counted as part of Obamacare.
But check out Peter Suderman's and Jim Capretta's writing on this. One point: after you repeal Obamacare, you could use some of the bill's offsets to pay for the doc fix.