Senate Democrats use tricks to pull a fast one on health care reform

The Associated Press is reporting that a group of Senate Democrats intend to slide a fast one by the American taxpayer.  The Senators hope to win quick approval of a bill that will boost Medicare payments to doctors by hundreds of billions of dollars and will try to do so by using a legislative ploy that all but eliminates public discussion over the issue.

The significance of this tactic is that the Baucus Health Reform bill was drafted with the provision that there would be cuts to Medicare payments to doctors. That is a primary reason that the Congressional Budget Office found that the bill would reduce the deficit. Of course, there were other reasons to consider carefully the assumptions that the CBO used to give the Baucus Bill a pass, but the cuts in payments should always be suspect since Congressmen routinely include this promise in bills to meet budget constraints and later cut that provision after the bill passes and public scrutiny and opposition dies down.

The fact that the Senate is jumping the gun and trying to boost these payments should be seen as a sop to the medical profession. Senate Democrats must realize they will need to "buy off" doctors to get the bill passed. They are buying off, or co-opting, the opposition with our dollars.

Leaders in this effort include Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan). A spokesman for Reid disclosed that this ploy was developed in consultation with the House Democrats and the White House. This seems to have the signature of Rahm Emanuel-who knows quite well how to manipulate the levers of power in Congress and knows all the tricks in the book.

A commendation should go to Associated Press for at least publicizing this stunt. Where is the rest of the media? Where is the promise of transparency we were promised in 2008?
If you experience technical problems, please write to