Rep. Camp Airs Concerns About Plan To Put War Savings Toward ‘Doc Fix’
A proposal to use savings from ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to fund a "doc fix" might not be an option, according to the chair of the conference committee tasked with extending the payroll tax cut and delaying scheduled cuts to Medicare physician reimbursement rates, Kaiser Health News' "Capsules" reports (Carey, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 2/3).
Concerns About Proposal
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said that using such war funds is "outside the scope of the conference," noting, "It's not in either the House or Senate bill."
If members of the committee used the funding, they could face problems when the measure came to the floor because lawmakers could raise of a point of order in objection, according to Kaiser Health News' "Capsules" ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 2/3).
However, Camp said he has not studied whether mixing some war savings and Medicare money would be permitted under budget rules (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 2/2).
Using the war savings to fund a "doc fix" also could violate congressional pay-as-you-go rules, according to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf. Elmendorf noted that the war savings are discretionary spending and Medicare is considered mandatory spending ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 2/3).
Camp said the group should wait to discuss ways to pay for proposals until after the group finds consensus (CQ HealthBeat, 2/2).
Conferees Still Hope To Use War Savings
Despite Camp's reservations, members of the conference committee continue to express support for using the war savings for the doc fix, National Journal reports.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday told committee members that they should use the funds to offset the cost of the doc fix.
Meanwhile, seven House members have signed a letter written by Reps. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) and Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) asking House members to support using the funds to permanently repeal the sustainable growth formula, which establishes Medicare physician reimbursement rates (McCarthy, National Journal, 2/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.