Monday, March 01, 2010

Bunning's filibuster cuts pay to doctors

The Bunning filibuster fiasco continues to drive itself into the Crazies Zone. Now apparently, Bunning's filibuster is causing a pay cut for doctors. From Talking Points Memo:

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors--and by standing in its way, he's triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.

Republicans say they support a temporary measure to avoid the cuts, but they have been unable to rein in Bunning, and, as such, the Senate has failed to act on a House bill that staves them off.

The American Medical Association warned of this last week: "A Medicare meltdown now seems certain, as the U.S. Senate has left early for the weekend, abandoning seniors, military families and baby boomers," reads an AMA statement from Friday. "The Senate failed to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula that will cause a drastic 21 percent payment cut to physicians who care for Medicare and TRICARE patients. On Monday, the 21 percent cut goes into effect, forcing many physicians to limit the number of Medicare and TRICARE patients they see in order to keep their practice doors open."

On a conference call with reporters this afternoon Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) put it this way: "By his actions, Bunning has prevented people from receiving Unemployment, health care access, transportation projects from going forward, and Doctors who provide Medicare services from getting paid."

Today, for the seventh time, Bunning objected to a request for unanimous consent to temporarily extend benefits. In addition to cutting doctor's fees, his exploitation of the Senate's filibuster rules has cost thousands of out-of-work Americans their benefits and has even put thousands of federal employees out of work.

So if I'm reading this correctly, doctors who treat Medicare and Tricare patients, will see their payments cut due to Bunning's filibustering of temporary unemployment and COBRA benefits. So if the doctors are seeing their paychecks getting cut, does that mean those same doctors will also be thrown out of work and not see a temporary extension of their unemployment benefits?

And does it end at doctors? What about psychiatrists? Will psychiatrists see their paychecks expand due to the increased number of Republican crazies inhabiting Congress?

Olbermann has the latest on the insanity of Jim Bunning:

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