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    Demand that Representatives "VOTE NO" on H.R. 3961

    11/18/2009

    Recently, FreedomWorks joined a coalition of 15 groups representing the concerns of millions of Americans and also sent a KEY VOTE notice to Representatives on Capitol Hill asking them to vote "NO" on H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Act.  H.R. 3961 is a dishonest attempt by the political elites in Washington to mask the tremendous costs that healthcare reform will impose upon American families and businesses.


    Introduced by Representative John Dingell (D-MI), H.R. 3961 would spend over $200 billion in taxpayer money on reimbursements for physicians through Medicare.  This $200 billion will be spent in addition to the $1.05 trillion price tag of Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) healthcare reform bill.   While--under the proper circumstances-- a "doc fix"  such as this has some merit as a means of keeping physicians from abandoning the Medicare program, H.R. 3961 contains no spending reductions to offset its considerable cost.  Even worse, the bill brought forth by Democratic leadership serves as a deceptive way of reducing the perceived cost of health care reform legislation.


    On November 4th, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the cost of one such piece of legislation.  H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Act, received a 10-year cost estimate of $1.05 trillion.  It owes its score, in part, to the reduction of over $200 billion in physician reimbursements through Medicare that exist within the legislation.  The savings in Pelosi's plan are almost the exact equivalent of the cost of H.R. 3961.  The passage of H.R. 3961 will negate reductions in the Pelosi bill without adding to the perceived cost of reform.  This deception partly explains why the Pelosi's proposal can both spend a trillion dollars and be deemed to reduce the deficit (the rest is explained by all of the tax hikes included in the healthcare bill).


    An article printed in this morning's Wall Street Journal calls this type of cheap gimmick a lesson learned from the "Madoff School of accounting."  In order to hide the true costs of their plan: 


    ...Democrats rely on straight deficit spending.  Yet even that obscures the true costs. Mrs. Pelosi stripped $35 billion from the original score by changing the way Medicare pays for drugs administered in physician offices and raiding a Medicare reserve fund. President Obama's continued promises that he won't sign a health bill that increases the deficit is by now indefensible.


    The article goes on to cite a new study released by the Heritage Foundation which found that increasing physician payments: 


    ...without offsets will increase Medicare's unfunded liabilities by $1.9 trillion over the next 75 years. Given that the entitlement is already about $39 trillion in the hole (give or take a few trillion), [H.R. 3961] alone is a European-style value-added tax waiting to happen, not including the huge new permanent spending commitments created by ObamaCare.


    Last month, a bipartisan majority stopped a similar healthcare spending bill (S. 1776) in the Senate.  After the crucial vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said:


    In the Senate’s first vote on health care spending this year, a bipartisan majority rejected the Democrat Leadership's attempt to add another quarter trillion dollars to the national credit card without any plan to pay for it. With a record deficit and a ballooning national debt, the American people are saying enough is enough. Today's vote shows that this message is finally starting to get through to Congress. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come in the health care debate ahead.


    Now, we need your help to make sure that this underhanded attempt to deceive Americans by Speaker Pelosi and Democratic leadership will fail.


    Please call your Representative today.  Tell him or her to VOTE NO on H.R. 3691.  With your help, it is not too late to stop this deceitful attempt to mask the true cost of reform which will add billions to the skyrocketing national deficit.


    You can also help us in our fight against PelosiCare by donating here.