Home > News and Commentary > 21% Medicare Reimbursement Cut Scheduled To Go Into Effect March 1st. Republican Senator Jim Bunning (KY) Uses Unanimous Consent Procedure That Delays Senate Action

21% Medicare Reimbursement Cut Scheduled To Go Into Effect March 1st. Republican Senator Jim Bunning (KY) Uses Unanimous Consent Procedure That Delays Senate Action

Retiring Republican Senator and former baseball player Jim Bunning (KY) giving the standard Republican excuses that he doesn’t want to pay for a bill that isn’t paid for (despite massive deficit spending under Bush and Republican Presidents and Cheney’s declaration that deficits don’t matter) decided to use the parliamentary maneuver of unanimous consent to hold up a bill that provided out of work Americans unemployment benefits. The bill in question also had appropriations for medicare reimbursements. The bill would increase the deficit by $10 billion from 2010 to 2020 with $7 billion of it for Americans that lost their jobs under the current recession by extending benefits. In discussing this issue, Emily Walker reports for Medpage Today in, “Medicare Pay Cut Goes Into Effect on Monday”, that

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) chastised the Hall of Fame pitcher for being the lone voice of dissent on the “extenders” package.

“Everyone acknowledges there is only one objection,” Durbin said on the Senate floor Thursday night. “Everyone in this chamber acknowledges we are a caring and compassionate country, and we will, on an emergency basis, extend a helping hand to those who have lost their jobs.”

He even used baseball to try to appeal to Bunning to stop his one-man filibuster against the bill.

“I am very proud of what you have done in your baseball career,” Durbin told him. “But let me tell you, this is a wild pitch you are throwing tonight because this is a pitch that is hitting somebody in the stands; it is hitting an unemployed worker in Illinois. That is a wild pitch that should not have been thrown, Senator.”

The problem arose from what is known as something called the sustainable growth rate formula or SGR which is a Medicare accounting scheme that ties Medicare Part B reimbursements to GDP. This formula has caused cuts in Medicare reimbursement nearly every year this decade and has been fought by the Medical industry for years. Just imagine if this formula was applied to the Military Industrial Complex or its 1000 + bases in around 135 countries and it’s spending which is more than the next 10 nations combined or if it was applied to subsidies to big oil or the tax cuts that have been implemented steadily to the top income tax rate imposed by Republican Presidents. Maybe then there would be public money to spend on the well being of the public in hard times. Imagine if the foreign and US corporations that haven’t been paying income taxes while doing business in the United States as was shown in a study by the GAO and reported in a Reuters article titled, “Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes” had been doing so. Would we be so far in debt? Would we have enough to meet the basic quality of life needs for our citizens? I suppose that would interfere with someone’s ideology or some politicians campaign war chest and I guess we just can’t have that, can we? I expect the Senate will pass an appropriate extension when it returns to session. I doubt it is willing to face the heat if it didn’t.

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