Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) isn’t the only Democrat playing hard-ball on health reform this year. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that the House won’t support a $245 billion proposal to revamp Medicare’s physician reimbursement formula unless the Senate agrees to adopt pay-as-you-go rules for most other elements of federal spending.
The House already passed pay-go legislation this year, exempting four expensive items — including the doc-fix — but only if one of three conditions were met. Either statutory pay-go has to be in law (the Senate hasn’t passed it); the doc-fix proposal has to be paid for (it’s not); or statutory pay-go has to be attached to the bill as a rider.
Hoyer explained the strategy Tuesday.
In consideration of those exceptions, you must pass and put in place statutory pay-go so that we cannot do it for other things. So we can take some very substantive, important steps forward in bringing fiscal discipline to this nation, which needs it.
They’ll have some time to work things out. The Senate, which was expected to take up the doc-fix bill Tuesday, has delayed the floor debate while chamber leaders continue to negotiate amendments.