Beware of Huge Majorities Bearing Bills

Obamacare by from National Review, April 14, 2015

The Senate passed a major Medicare bill tonight by a vote of 92–8. It has already passed the House — 392–37 — and will be signed by President Obama. It puts an end to a two-decade charade under which Congress passed annual bills to avoid scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare reimbursements by making cuts elsewhere. A lot of those cuts were not very well-designed and some were gimmicks, but those seeking to make major changes to Medicare — a.k.a. all conservatives who believe our entitlements are poorly designed and unsustainable — have now given up the leverage that this annual charade, called the “doc fix,” provided, because senators and congressmen were too eager to satiate doctors’ interest groups.

Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform has made the case for the bill nonetheless on a couple of occasions on our site, noting that it includes some good reforms to Medicare that could well recoup its short-term costs in the long term. (The bill costs more over the next ten years than was scheduled to be spent under current law, so Congress had to suspend a rule against such spending — Senator Mike Lee raised an amendment to restore that rule, which failed.)

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