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October 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Congress add $250 billion to deficit with separate bill for higher doctor fees?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's just another example of your government at work - Senate Democrats want to get quick approval of a bill - separate from the overall health care reform plan - that would increase Medicare payments to doctors by nearly $250 billion over 10 years. This money would be added to the deficit.

The measure would avoid a 21 percent reduction in Medicare fees paid to doctors that's scheduled to go into effect in January... along with future cuts. The American Medical Association is of course calling on Congress to pass this thing - saying it will "protect seniors' access to quality care."

The measure was introduced without much attention in the Senate Tuesday - and it's been set aside for a quick vote next week... instead of being sent to the Finance Committee for hearings - which is the way things usually work.

It will need 60 votes to pass. Republican leaders along with some Democrats are opposed. They rightfully feel our deficits are big enough without adding another quarter of a trillion dollars if these increases in doctors' payments are put into place.

Why are there two separate bills? Well - if this $250 billion isn't included as part of the overall health care reform tab... then Democrats can say they're not exceeding President Obama's goal of $900 billion for health care reform over 10 years.

I know the government treats us with contempt... but we're not stupid. It's as if nothing is beneath these people.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress add $250 billion to the deficit with a separate bill for higher doctor fees?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kelley writes:
No, Congress should not give a back door raise to doctors. The additional $250 billion combined with the health care plan is not sustainable. Someone has to slow down and look at this from a bigger picture mentality. The quick fix always leaks.

Brian from Scottsdale, Arizona writes:
I disagree with you, Jack. The majority of us are stupid. We prove it every election by voting for the same clowns, then sit back and wonder why we’re getting screwed.

Karen writes:
I work for a doctor's office and I don't believe most people understand what a paltry amount Medicare actually pays the doctors. A $6,000 charge for a surgeon's fee for a cataract surgery would be reimbursed about $400. The anesthesia for said procedure would be about $600 and reimbursement would be around $50. Whether it should be in a separate bill or not, I don't know but Medicare reimbursement definitely needs to be increased.

Lu from Flagstaff, Arizona writes:
Everyone wants a piece of the pie: the insurance companies, doctors, drug companies. They dread the single-payer or public option, which truly would bring down the deficit and give the people the help they need in health care.

Michael writes:
I am a Democrat and I am starting to feel that my future and my unborn child’s future are slipping away. I am only 24 years old and feel that I will not be able to retire or "live the American dream" like my parents.

Jim writes:
Why not? As we were promised, just more of the same.

S. from Munhall, Pennsylvania writes:
Absolutely, Jack. Why, just the other day, I actually saw a couple of doctors who were driving a Chevy pickup and a Saturn car. It's pitiful to think that a doctor can't afford a better car. How are they supposed to get a trophy wife if that's all they can afford to drive? We've just gotta help them.


Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • Health care
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Why should doctors get higher fees? Unless you are a loser CEO of a failed ginormous company, a member of Congress, a healthcare industry executive or a crook (sorry that was a redundancy) we all have to do with less, not more. I don’t begrudge doctors their fees, most of them certainly earn it and spent upwards of 8 years in medical school, but they are very well compensated these days.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  2. JD In NH

    Congress needs to do whatever it can to expand health care in this country and if it means paying a higher fee to physicians who treat Medicare and Medicaid patients, I'm all for it. Funny how no one asked these questions when the last president was putting billions on the Chinese credit card to fund tax cuts for the wealthy and a war that didn't need to be fought.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  3. lou

    fuzzy math? voodoo economics? how about 7.5 billion for pakistan, but no COLA for Americans on social security? maybe its easier to skim off the top when the $$$ jumps the pond!

    October 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  4. Carlos Round Rock, Texas

    No Jack. Have you ever seen what type of car your doctor drives? Doctors make more than enough in this country unless they do most of their work at a free clinic. I am afraid in that case their are just to few real doctor's like that.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  5. Joanne B

    This is a bribe to Seniors as only 10% of Seniors support Obamacare. Seniors are laughing – give seniors the Congress' raise they gave themselves of $4700.00 annually and you will get their att'n.
    62% of Independents oppose Obamacare now, and 22% approve – we see the writing on the wall.
    Joanne
    Mn

    October 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  6. Jack Carlson

    Seniors won't change their minds on who they support come 2010 and 2012 irregardless – it's amazing how the Congress and ADM thinks Americans are stupid.
    They should be given a 5% rise if income is under $125,000...taken from the increase given to Federal Employees.
    Jack C
    WA

    October 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  7. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    Whatever it takes to get true reform passed! Without it, the insurance companies will bankrupt us all. But if we don't get a radical transformation of "for profit health care", we will be hit with higher medical costs, AND higher taxes. It's a lot to ask from people who can't even find a good job!!

    October 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  8. Russ in PA

    What a bloody joke! Get government out of health care! Now! Politicians from both parties are turning this country into the biggest laughing stock in the world. And the poorest...

    October 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  9. JENNA

    Should Congress add $250 billion to the deficit with a separate bill for higher doctor fees?

    Yes!

    Reforming the waste of Medicare is only a small portion of the Health Care Reform Act.

    First we get health care to those who do not qualify for Medicare.

    Then we reform Medicare.

    Then we go after the Life Insurance Companies who discriminate againt those who want to purchase life insurance and can't because of pre-existing conditions.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    October 16, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  10. Keith - Ohio

    Here we are, not even voting on the bill and congress has lost sight of the objective.... Provide healthcare for everyone and reduce the cost... Just goes to show you that these self-serving hypocrites haven't a clue what the citizens really need...

    If emcumbents are voted back in in 2010, it's our own fault.

    This ain't the "change" that I thought I was voting for....

    October 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  11. Frank from Peterborough

    Of course not Jack let them die. That's the American way of putting more value in dollars than in the life of their citizens.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Jane (Minnesota)

    No they shouldn't – unless they cut the same amount from somthing else or raising Revenue. I wonder if they manage their personal finances this way but then I emember they don't have to live within a budget like most of America does!
    What a bunch of snake oil salespeople we have working for us in the Senate. The real question to ask & try to get answer to is "Why do we need the Senate?" – since it's so obvious to me that it's the bottlenexk in Washington to getting anything accomplished.

    Jane

    October 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Irv Lilley

    Jack , Why should we be concerned about congress's projected plans. You know things like that are always changing. The insurance compnies are always scheming to find ways to shaft the public.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  14. David of Alexandria

    Jack - its the same folks who think we're stupid enough to belive that keeping the health care bill deficit neutral won't still cost the tax payers a bundle. The lack of transparency here is as henous as the lack of clarity in not wrapping this into the overall HC bill. This leaves outrageous in the dust.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Gee, it seems like someone is trying to impale us on another stake.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  16. Danny Mckinney, Texas

    Jack this is politics as usual. None of these politicians are reaching into their own pockets to pay for anything so it is easy come easy go to them.
    None of these morons know what a budget is when all they have to do is just add another bill to accomplish what they want.
    Keep in mind Jack that we got into all this debt because of the decisions these politicians made.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  17. JIM ROANOKE,VA

    Americans have already figured out that the country is bankrupt.We're just waiting for Congress and the President as well as folks in the media to get it.!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  18. Randy L. Sierra Vista, Arizona

    This administration will do whatever they feel like. They know that when all the chickens come home to roost and the bill is high, that they won't be around to take the blame. Their main priority is to get the government deeper into our lives before they're elected out of office. Once the government is in, it's impossible to get them out.
    It's just so troubling that they only care about their agenda and not America.

    October 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  19. Mike from Denver

    As long as Congress keeps passing smaller bills related to health care, we may never know the true cost. Free health care is quickly becoming unfathomably expensive.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  20. Lori - PA

    What? People are fed up with the stunts our elected officals pull. I say at the next elections, we don't re-elect those currently in office.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  21. bob frompa

    they should fire every onethat votes for this bill

    October 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  22. C.K. of Colorado

    Of course not, we can barely afford the expensive fees we pay now!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  23. Melissa

    Ok, I support the Democrats health care bill, I support President Obama, and I feel we absolutely need a public option to force the Insurance companies to keep honest, but I see no reason why the doctors deserve increased wages. Most people will never see the amount of money that a doctor makes in one year.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  24. Peg from NY

    No way, No how! What are these people thinking? I am a Democrat and I am appalled at this. NO, NO, NO!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  25. Ed

    What the hell, since deficits don't matter Dick Cheney what's another 250 billion. If Obamacare is America's last happy meal lets have some doctors with our healthcare.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  26. Sherri-Illinois

    To heck with all this spending! Tell the Senate to pass HR 3548 extension of unemployment benefits. 400.000 unemployed are without a lifeline because the Senate is playing political games with each other. They passed a bill of $4.6 BILLION dollars for pay raises to Congressional staffers!!!. What company in this sorry economy is giving ANY employee a raise! The govt sucks, plain and simple. The only CHANGE I am seeing is the 15 cents thats in my pocket. President Obama is all talk & no action. I am very disappointed in Washington and will NOT vote for neither party in 2010.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  27. Meg from Troy

    Jack–
    Absolutely not! These lobbies are ruining America. Doctors already make a huge chunk from Medicare. Let them take the cuts with the rest of us who are on a budget, out of work, losing our homes, and our life savings. I'll be emailing my congressman on this one.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  28. bud rupert

    If getting rid of the "fee for service" rip off is part of the deal then maybe so Jack. Until we get rid of "fee for service" and cut the administrative overhead from 30% down to below 10% the tweeks and tunes of U.S health care is mostly smoke n mirror's.
    If that does happen (getting rid of fee for service) the docs (especially the Primary Care docs) will need some boost to thier income to make up for the loss of "fee for service" rip offs. And that's probably a good thing
    Quit all the rediculous testing, pay our docs a good wage so they will want to be docs, get rid of the nightmare paper work shuffel and it just may be a good first step.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  29. Lucy

    ???? Higher doctor fees???? Yeah, because doctor's need more money than they already have. What's funny is this sounds like a classic example of the rich getting richer...and I thought Democrats were more likely to be called socialists. I think the reason the gov treats us like we're stupid is because they are stupid, so they don't know how to treat us any other way. Guess what? I think this bill is STUPID.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    October 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  30. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    No Jack but who listens to us. This bill is so screwed up. Forcing me to buy health insurance while I am making only $8.75/hr. I am so tired of Congress.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  31. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    NO! NO!
    The last sentence of your commentary said, "I know the government treats us with contempt… but we’re not stupid. It’s as if nothing is beneath these people". Jack, only some of us may not be stupid, but most of us are stupid. Electing and reelecting these contemptuous jerks verifies our stupidity.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  32. Heath in Missoula, Montana

    To do that at the same time as the current healthcare reform effort is definitely insulting the intelligence of the public. If this sort of measure is necessary, then they should build it into the current bill & BE HONEST with us about the actual costs of healthcare reform....afterall, voting Americans are adults. Congress, please treat us as such.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  33. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack all I can tell you is without Medicare I might as well lay down and die. I am on Medicare with a supplement plan that I have to pay for along with a drug plan which I also have to pay for. If the doctors I go to would stop accepting Medicare I would be up the creek. How much money did it cost to bail out the fat cats on Wall Street? I can understand about the deficit but also can understand protecting and making sure people on Medicare have substantial care.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  34. Michael, Kansas City, Missouri

    How long is this puddling to go on? The president and congress should get to work and craft a bill that would provide health care for all of its citizens, place research into the hands of universities (where it used to be), and make health care professionals government employees. It works everywhere else it has been instituted! What Americans need to ask themselves is whether or not health care is a right or a priviledge?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  35. John from Alabama

    Jack: There are 2 things at play with this outside $250 billion. Doctors can foresee a time in 12 months or less where seniors will have to pay more for doctor visits, and secondly, if AMA does not get the $250 billion it will pull its support for the Health Care Reform now winding through Congress. Bottom line there are two masters which are: less health care for seniors and greed driven by AMA.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  36. Jack Kramer in California

    It is George Bush's fault!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  37. vern-anaheim,ca

    jack ,we are not as stupid as the goverment thinks we are.of course the ama favors this but i for one don't believe for a minute that it will protect seniors like me from receiving quality medical care,so i hope this ridiculous and unnecessary bill is defeated

    October 16, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  38. Jackie in Dallas

    No. If President Obama, and the Congress, want to retain their credibility - which is dropping rapidly (especially for Congress) - they need to be more transparent about legislation. While I'm not particularly pro or con the bill itself (I'd need to read it first and do the research), I'm with you in thinking that Congress is trying to play stupid games, which pisses me off!

    October 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  39. Chris from Charlotte

    Jack,
    The good doctors have been given a bad rap because of the health insurance companies and lax medicare oversight. I say spend sometime putting the doctors that cheat medicare in jail and free up $250 billion to pay the honest doctors and take care of our seniors, like good Americans should. Then put a choke hold on the insurance companies and save another $250 billon in medicare over the next ten years.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  40. Rob of Brooklyn

    No–their making enough. They co pays are going up and up . what the hell else do they want ?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  41. Richard Gottlieb [in Mexico]

    History has shown us that inflation will eat up any of the enormous numbers of government spending. Billions of dollars today will amount to a pittance in a decade making whatever we spend a better buy now than if we wait for the future. Money is just a number that changes its value in time.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  42. DT from Fort Walton Beach, FL

    Yes they should, but the $250 billion should come out of all their fat pockets...not the tax payers trying to keep lights on and food on the table...

    October 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  43. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    It is true that the doctors need to be reimbursed more; however they too are part of big business. This physician reimbursement rate hike will result in competitive like raises in the private health insurance industry which in turn will increase everyone's health insurance premiums to include medicare recipients. To those who are unaware, it might be nice to know that Medicare accounts are now contracted to private health insurance companies. Isn't the ineptness of our U.S. Congress disgusting?

    October 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  44. Fred R Deleon

    Who cares......The stupid Congress will do what ever they like. Of course behind close doors. NO CONSERVATIVES ALLOWED.
    Our Attorney General was correct when he said on his first interview with THE PRESS...."THIS IS COUNTRY OF COWARDS" ( you must have that in records)
    USA very soon will be American Socialist States= ASS

    October 16, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  45. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    Doctors fees should be raised and so should the Medicare payroll tax. Not doing so is a subsidy to workers whose parents have already died, since without adequate funding those of us with living parents will eventually have to pick up the slack.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  46. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    No Jack. I hope that all of the these people get voted out the next time we go to the polls. I will not vote for one person who is in office now. This is beyond being low, it's stupid on their part to think they could get this past CNN. I urge every person who reads this write their so called congressional leader and tell them NO, NO and NO.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  47. Independent Joe

    Jack,

    Instead of adding $250 billion dollars to our debt why not just construct a bill that imposes some sort of tort reform. Of course the trial lawyers would no longer contribute as much to relect the politicians that voted for it.

    Independent Joe (Mn)

    October 16, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  48. David Bakody Nova Scotia

    The more things change the more they remain the same .... taxpayers hard work, sweat and tears for political gain and payoffs gonzo in a heartbeat at the sound of Speaker of House's gavel. And for what it worth it is same around world no matter what the government is called. I have had it, unless there is a brand "X" on the ballot I am staying home!

    David
    Nova Scotia

    October 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  49. fred hughes

    It means that the shinning light on "America The Beautiful" is not as bright as we want the world to think it is.

    Fred
    Livingston, AL.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  50. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    Why do you think health costs are as high as they are? Because the doctors are so overpaid as it stands today. Pay them more? And add 250 billion to the deficit? Wake up people ... fight to stop this before it's too late. Oh, and don't forget, the lobbyists will benefit from this idiocy as well, if it's pushed through next week.

    October 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  51. Christian

    Why not, we have been carrying the heavy burden of the deficit for so long. They might as well add a little more while they at it, seeing that the majority of the Congressional members will lose their reelection bid during the midterm election.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  52. Sam Tighiouart

    No Jack they should not have a separate bill for this as it is clearly part of healthcare. But then again, they are masters at splitting hairs, just look at the bills passed with amendments within the very bill that nullify it. And Both sides stand up and take credit for doing what is best for Americans. I am torn between fits of hysterical laughter and utter contempt. If it weren't a reality, it would be unbelievable.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  53. Arlene, Illinois

    A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon this is going to run
    into some money! Think I'll just go on welfare and go to the
    emergency room for free.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  54. Kim in Mpls

    Yes I think that congress should give each profession that same amount!

    With 800,000 doctors as of 2006 it works out to over $300,000 per doctor. It's a Wallstreet bonus given to doctors!

    October 16, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  55. Lynn, Mo..

    With all the baby boomers becoming seniors, I think it might be a good idea to cover them. Besides, any healthcare reform for anyone sounds good to me. If we had universal healthcare like most other countries, this wouldn't be an issue.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  56. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    They should actually work on cutting out actual fraud before cutting payments to doctors who are really doing the work. That way end runs around spending limits would not be thought necessary to preserve care for those whom this program is designed to care for.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  57. Sam Pendergrass/Scappoose Oregon

    Jack why is it when anything of value to the American public comes up in front of our legislatures it is poo pooed away as something we would not understand or appreciate? How about this? We open up the books of every government member of Congress or the Senate and find out who is getting what from whom and then vote on who to keep and who to prosecute.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  58. Pugas-AZ

    The old shell game-once again. Take with the feft hand and give with the right hand. It is obvious that the law makers hold the public in complete disdain. Apparently adding to the defecit is becoming a game of "can you top this." What a country.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  59. Remo from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Tx.

    NO! NO! NO! NO!
    Aren't these yo-yo's supposed to represent the folks who voted for them? There a bunch of self serving crooks and we need to set term limits to stop this crap. We also need to cancel their health package and let them suffer with rest of us. Maybe that will change it a little.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  60. JWC in Atlanta

    In your pre commentary you say, "I know the government treats us with contempt… but we’re not stupid."

    Yes....we ARE stupid. Who do you think votes these dolts into office in the first place? Voters (and you) can kvetch all they like, but voters do this to themselves. The sad thing is that come next election, they'll put the majority of these same morons right back into office, and your great great great grandchildren will be unable to ever pay for their idiocy.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  61. Ken DE

    No, congress should not borrow another 250 billion to pay off the ama. The doctors are already making an average of $300k with the present medicare physician payments and do not need to get more money from the taxpayers. Paying physicians more money does not give better quality health care it just makes the physicians richer. Medicare already has a 23 trillion dollar deficit. This will only make the medicare deficit bigger.

    Dover, DE

    October 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  62. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    No what they need to do is regain control of the cost of medical equipment and drugs the proublem here is every body is riping every body else off from the utility companys all the way up to the doctors the intire country has gone crazy with unfair trade and cost .

    October 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  63. james in anaheim california

    Two Words for those hypocrites in congress:

    HELL NO!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  64. Ivana Cardinale

    Why the United States Goverment spends billions and billions of dollars every year in a middle east invasion since 2002, due to the lies of the weapons of mass destruction of Irak that never existed, and the so-called Taliban protection to Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan who was never found, while the marines have killed about 2 millions inocents civilians (the no official figures) during all these years, when it could put that money on a health care plan for all the US citizens that are desperately in need of a proper health program, or in a education plan, housing financial plan, etc.

    The State Department is now spending another $700 billions for the Afghanistan invasion while the skinflint selfish republicans are doing a scandal opposing a health care bill for the US citizens, not for alliens or strangers, for its citizens that have been treated like lumpen in the last decade. The people have become things for the health and medical companies and also for the republicans.

    The US citizens have not stand up for their rights because in the States there isn't a democratic goverment. Never existed. During 200 years this country has been governed by a savage powerful oligarchy, and never by common, middle class people. It seems that in the States, the rich knows better.

    In this country ussually people can't manifest or protest about something without being arrested. The US citizens haven't get up for their rights because they are afraid of the usual goverment repression. What a democracy! And this is the democracy that the United States Goverment wants to export and impose to other countries. Shame on you!

    October 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  65. keith, Lancaster ky

    No they need to quit spending as much money as they can just to get votes, a majority of americans are feed up with this congress and they had better start paying attention or they will standing in line with the other people there liberial policies have caused to lose jobs, we want jobs not more make work bills out of this useless congress, 2010 yet

    October 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  66. Dave dauphinais

    Congress (all those self serving blockheads in DC) needs to dump this plan and put us all on their plan. Two benefits – First they will start making decisions that benefit us as well as them and second they will finally start performing to their job description namely, representing us.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  67. Sam Pendergrass/Scappoose Oregon

    Let's see we paid all ouor life for medicare only to find out when you finally recei ve it that no one will honor it as it doesn't pay the doctors enough to see you....hmmmm makes one wonder why we paid all those years to get something you can not use.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  68. Tina Tx

    We need cheaper Dr visits. I am tired of paying on my doctor's new Jaguar. I am so sick of the rich people ruining this country. It is not the poor who have to pinch pennies to even go to the doctor.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  69. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Jack, remember when you could pay the doctors fee with one chicken.
    Look how far we have come. Doctors fees today are criminal.
    Shame on us.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  70. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    I am getting so competely disgusted with the Democrats. They have the majority to pass any legislation they want yet they are so disorganized they have accomplished almost nothing. Thanks, Nancy! Thanks Harry! If they can not get anything accomplished in Congress using established proecees; then try to go behind everyones back. Disgusting! And I'm a Democrat.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  71. Sam Pendergrass/Scappoose Oregon

    Jack take a look around you, doctors live in squall er drive old beat up cars and can not make enough to pay for a doctors smock. Why not appropiate another 250 billion to give them some decent pay scales and maybe, just maybe one of them might allow some one like me on Medicare get an appointment.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  72. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    I thought they wanted to decrease our doctor bills. They are only taking it out of one hand and giving it to the doctors with the other.I have an idea – have all the Democrats pool their money and pay for it themselves. With what they are making, it should be easy to do.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  73. Johnathan Miami, Fl

    If President Obama doesn't have this stupid bill killed immediately or at least veto the hell out of it publicly and vocally , then I believe this will be his true "Waterloo" . He needs to force 2/3rds of this hipocritical Congress to go on record againist him and lose all future elections for their ignorance and conspiracy against the American people. SHAME ON YOU CONGRESS!!!

    Doctors are NOT poor. Are 10% of legitimate doctors unemployed?......didn't think so!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  74. Terence

    Congress should add many more billions to the system for paying doctors fees. How can you take 500 billion from medicare and its going to be broke and loose money in 2016 unless we add more money to the system. Sounds like we still have fuzzy math of the old days still. The dems know a good thing when they see it. Its going broke so how do you get 500 billion from nothing????
    Terence , Piscataway, NJ

    October 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  75. T.Thomas Abilene Tx.

    We citizens are treated with distain by our own government. I get that this is merely subterfuge .What I will never figure out,though, is why" increasing deficits" are now such a huge priority.None of this mattered all those years when it came to financing Bush's inane wars.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  76. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Just another example of the idiots we elected to congress taking money from the lobbyist and making sure that the people that stuffed their pockets with that money get what they paid for.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  77. BILL, WI

    After lies for the last four months from the Repubs and Dems it now sounds like the truth is starting to come out. Allow health coverage nationwide under the same policy, reduce the 3 trillion dollar tort payouts and set caps on fees to reduce some of the insurance payouts.

    October 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  78. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    Pay the Doctors the money, and go ahead and take out the excessive waste in Medicare. I watched a program on CNN that showed a Reporter could buy a Wheel Chair for under $350. The Very same Wheel Chair, the very same model number from the very same company that sold them to Medicare for over $1500. Tell me that this type of waste could not be eliminated. Then that would offset some of the money the Doctors would get.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  79. The Broker.

    It all depends on whether you want to keep the Doctors in your country.

    I hear so much about American Doctors. They are not yours. They have come from all over the world..

    October 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  80. David in San Diego

    Yes, the planned decrease in Medicare reimbursements was never a good idea. MDs, expecially in the "lesser specialty" areas like Family Practice or Internal Medicine, get their normal and customary fees cut too much for Medicare patients.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  81. Jerry Alpharetta, GA

    The $250 billion is based on reductions to fees paid to doctors. Who in the world approved the reductions in the first place? It would be very interesting to see an in depth report on savings and spending that Congress has passed versus the real numbers. We desperately need a report card for Congress and term limits would also be very helpful. Every Congressman should be reported on how much earmark money they have been granted, who gets the benefits of the earmarks and the amount of contributions given by those who are the beneficiaries.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  82. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    Absolutely not – another attempt at the 'Potomac shell game' -' I voted for the bill before I voted against it.' This offers political cover & Congress is counting on the typically short memory of most Americans. Citizens are treated with contempt because the voters continue to send these people back to Washington, no matter what they do.

    Zero tolerance for DC crooks – stop a thief by electing no incumbent.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  83. John

    Jack

    No!

    Greed is what got us into this in the first place. This is just one more example of more greed by both doctors and hospitals. Someone needs to tell this congress that the credit card has been cut up and when their term is up, they will be gone. People need to vote all incumbents out now so we can take our country back from greedy politicians and special interest groups.

    John
    Carlsbad, CA

    October 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  84. Joe CE

    Seems like a bad idea but perhaps warrants further study. Placing it seperately from the Health Care Bill is unacceptable.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  85. Gary H. Boyd

    Sure, why not? After all, spend a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon it adds up to some pretty fair change. All that needs to be done is crank up the money press. Simple - really, really simple.

    Gary H. Boyd, Scottsdale, Arizona

    October 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  86. david doherty

    Jack what has happened to our country? There was a time that I could say I'm an American and be proud of the fact, now whenever I travel abroad I'm forced to hang my head in shame and avoid conversations that will disclose my origin. The rest of the world sees us as a joke!
    The reason we can't get health reform off the ground, is because knowbody can decide what will benefit them the most. I swear the next time I hear a politician say for the good of the country, or for the good of the American tax payer, I'm gonna puke! I'm sure it won't be long.

    Dave from NH.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  87. Simonsays/Orlando

    As a senior I have paid into Medicare my whole life and I expect something out of it. I say give the tab to the younger generation and let them sweat paying it just like I did. This is my national health care plan and I'm glad somebody else is going to pay to make it a good one.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  88. SMAG , Munhall , Pa.

    Absolutely Jack , Why just the other day I actually saw a couple of doctors that were driving a Chevy pickup and a Saturn car. It's pityful to think that a doctor here in the USA can't afford a better car. How are they supposed to get a trophy wife if that's all they can afford to drive?? We've JUST GOTTA help them....

    October 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  89. Timothy in Texas

    Guess now we know why the American Medical Association is all over television endorsing this health care reform bill. They cut a sweet deal with Senate Democrats and hopefully the media will have the courage to stand up the administration on this one. I'm not holding my breath.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  90. Darren

    We should check on how many of thise Congressment are on the medical lobbyists donor lists and exempt them for even voting on legislation they are being paid to oppose.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  91. kevin in Ma

    Why not ? The Congress does what it does best Spend OUR money!!

    maybe another $250 Billion for the lawyers while we're at it.

    If we are gonna go down might as well go down hard and fast!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  92. Chuck .

    Sure – if we can subtract the $250 billion from the lawmaker's salary increases for the next ten years. That's another increase they keep sliding past us while they think know one is watching

    From: Detroit, MI

    October 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  93. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, you need to get ready for dozens more of these exercises in "Congressional smoke and mirrors". I have said all along that Congress's health care reform will cost the taxpayers closer to $3-4 Trillion all added to the deficit. This is just the start. Wait until they try to transfer several hundred billion dollars in unfunded Medicaid mandates to the already bankrupt states like California. Congress doesn't have the money, so the only way to fund this fiasco is "hide it some other way" adding huge amounts to the deficit. Oh by the way, your statement is totally incorrect. Congress doesn't THINK we are stupid, they are CONVINCED we are stupid and HELPLESS to do anything about their agenda, and we are!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  94. Denis Duffy

    Are Democrats even more stupid than I think they are? Forget about calling them Democrats, they are socialists, communists, IDIOTS.

    Denis
    Upper Saint Clair

    October 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  95. Ted, Aloha, OR

    Will Congress also create a similar bill for attorneys so when they sue the doctors they can get higher fees too? Millions out of work and this is the best Congress can do? A handout to the highest paid people in the country. Sickening! I thought pulling down rates was a key compoonent of healthcare reform....

    October 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  96. Donna

    Yes, it is a sad day when no cost of living adjustment. I am glad the President recognizes the need. they can bail out the greedy banks that are so far out of reality, its about time to help those of us that struggle to meets our bills.

    Aurora, co

    October 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  97. K

    Face it, Jack. Our elected nonrepresentaatives have forgotten that they were elected to represent the people not the special interests who line their pockets and deluge them with at least 6 lobbyists per representative in congress. It is not fair. Congress is now a self serving body only interested in their own self interests. Term limits anyone? Kick the lobbyists out!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  98. frankie

    Medicare is too big to fail. The hospitals, nursing homes, the many jobs in those institutions not just doctors, could that all keep going with a 21 percent reduction in fees on top of today's bad economy? This is part of the budgeting disaster Obama inherited.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  99. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    Wow!! Isn't it wonderful we have a smart Democrat Party controlling Congress and the White House, passing out money to anyone! 7.5 Billion to Pakistan too!! And! No COLA for seniors??????

    Jack i am so glad you love these democrats! You are getting exactly what you wanted!!!! Fool!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  100. A Southern Lady - No. Carolina

    If Medicare does cut doctor's fees, as suggested, more and more physicians will not accept Medicare patients as what they receive in payment does not cover their expenses to provide the needed care. This is happening now in this section of North Carolina as older parents attempt to relocate here to be near their adult children. This bill, to raise payments to doctors to be sure they cover their expenses when treating Medicare patients, strengthens the Medicare program and insures the elderly will have access to health care. Once the Democrats enact a single payer health care bill and care is available to all, these fees will even-out but this will not happen 'till the Dems get some guts and tell the Republicans to "buzz off". I pray for that day!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  101. Randy T

    Yes! They need to sharpen-up their golf games at the higher end country clubs across the nation. While we're at it, let's give business executives a matching 250 billion so that the dr.'s won't be lonely.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  102. Billy from Minneapolis

    Any bill that does not have enough funding to pay for it should NOT be passed by Congress or signed by Obama. PERIOD!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  103. Kenneth Kohlmann

    A braying long-earred Demo-god (Sen. Reid) just announced on TV that health care won't cost the $894 M that Senate bill stated. He felt it would be more like $2 T. So, a few million here and few more there is a mere drop in the pork bucket.

    Had annual physical today and my Doctor was very vocal that he wasn't in support of government legislated bills that put a goverment bureaucrat be him and his patients. It can decrease the relationship between Doctor and Patients. He also suggested that HN1 scare being hyped by Media and Administration is being done to keep vaccine manufacterers in business. We've had several cases of Swine Flu which has been found to be much much milder that tauted.

    Boy, I never was a conspiracy advocate, but Obama is moving us that way.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  104. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    The amount that Medicare now pays is too low, and should not be lower or doctors will refuse to serve Medicare patients. I am surprised that they do now. Health care won't work until there are enough doctors. Try to get an appointment now in less than a week. All calls to make an apointment will start out telling you if this is an emergency call 911 or go to the E.R. which is not cost effective, in fact at least 10 times what a doctor visit. A nurse can handle most of the patients now seen by doctors.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  105. Scott Stodden

    Jack honestly Im not sure I understand the nature of this bill and what its for and I hope they let you to take the time on air on CNN to explain this to the American people and the fans of CNN cuz alot of people except doctor's and lawyers probably dont know what this bill is all about and wheater its good or bad for regular people living in surviving in this country. Jack the only answer I can give you is that any bill that is created and considered for approval or to become law basically has to go through the Senate Finace committee and that's what they should be doing not rushing bills through without basically being reviewed by anyone in the House or Senate I just don't believe that is right for the country and President Obama should be told directly plain and simple that there's a process in Washington before anything goes to the House or Senate because Mr Obama I voted for you but this isnt the right thing or the right way to go. Stop rushing bills through without being studied and sent to the proper committees.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    October 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  106. Lynda from NC

    The real question should be do you support a 21 percent decrease in Dr. payments – when they are already forced to cap the number of medicare patients they accept because it reimburses so much lower than private healthcare that they couldn't keep their doors open if all of their patients were on medicare. Allowing the decrease to happen would severely limit which providers our seniors would be able to see.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  107. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    No, we are already paying far too much for medical treatment, medicine was created to help people to keep them, from died and from suffering, not to get rich off of. The greed that exists in the medical fields is completely out of control. and if i hear another person who works in the medical fields, say that they are in it to help people all the while they are pushing to make more and more I will scream! and we wonder why it has taken over ninety years to get a healthcare law in America, everyone in medicine is down right greedy!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  108. ldfa

    Jack,
    Medicare pays very poorly and according to your column, if it does not pass, doctor payments from Medicare will be reduced by 21%. That will cause many doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients. This should not happen. And why are we trying to reduce those payments at this time? Was that an old bill that comes into effect in 2010 or something new under this administration? And yes .. it should be included in the overall health care plan $$

    October 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  109. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Jack, I think it proves the Politicos are gutless when it comes to revealing the TOTAL truth about issues!!! Without a 'public option' this new bill will be a sham and not worth the time that was spent on it !!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  110. Kay in Ohio

    Until either Democrats or Republiucans get serious about deficit reduction and debt reduction I, and I believe most Americans, judge their actions to be for their own and special interest's benefit. No, I do not think this should pass. It is an end-run around the President's promise to be sure all healthcare reform is budget neutral.

    October 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  111. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    How utterly insane! What are thinking...How much can they get for their reelection bids? GREED plain and simple. This madness must stop.
    This isn't change...It's business as usual, the Golden Rule; Thems that got the gold, get to make the rules!

    October 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  112. Thom Richer

    Hmmm? Congress wants to raise the doctor's fees for Medicare and cut patient's benefits and increase their costs as part of health care reform for the people? Makes sense to me. Rich doctors...richer doctors. Isn't (American) Capitalism great? Remember, boys and girls, what Reaganomics has taught us...give to the rich and it will trickle down. Just ask Daddy Warbush and his sidekick, Cheneywarbucks.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    October 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  113. Greg, Ontario

    I'm an Obama fan because I believe in the mans visions about what the world could be like. However even living in Canada I have watched him say he will never sign a bill that adds to the deficit. So what we have here is the administration using the media for a change. Think about it, he says he won't add to the deficit, you guys and the party of NO keep saying he will so what does he do? He has someone propose a bill he knows will add to the deficit "if" he signs it. He then calls you all to the White House to watch him veto the whole thing and he gives it all up as proof of him meaning what he said. What a soap opera.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  114. Nancy, Tennessee

    The seniors don't get even a 2% cost of living raise in their SS checks for 2010, but Congress want to raise the doctor's fees. Let the fees go up, maybe it will help bring down the deficit instead of increase it. Congress has got to learn to be more frugal with taxpayer's money. Tighten your belt applies to everyone not just the poor who can barely feed themselves and keep their homes warm in winter. I'm sure the doctors won't miss any meals or car payments if the fees continue on their intended course.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  115. Jeff In Minnesota

    Remember, these are the same people who were indignant when Enron was found cooking the books. Washington is the home of book cooking. But what do you expect when you can become a legislator for life and only pander to the people that elect you. This is a prime example of why we need term limits. Two terms for Senators and six for Representatives. If you cannot suck on the tit of government for your entire life, then maybe you will do the right thing and get the people's work done at a cost we can all afford.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  116. Mary

    NO. no way, nada, by no means, absolutely not, or in other words when a camel is threaded through the eye of a needle.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  117. Linda in Arizona

    Just think of it as an addition to the Health Care bill, which we don't have yet. Why should doctors be the ones to pay? I don't care about the deficit either. I'll be dead before it matters, and I don't have any children. Want to lower the deficit? Get us out of all the wars we're in.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  118. Iva from Canada

    Jack, it is putting the cart before the horse. Just go to fully funded public health care as in Canada. Fix the price specialist doctors can charge, and maybe some of the doctors and nurses we trained with Canadian tax dollars will return home. Oh yes, you might have to raise taxes a bit like the rest of the Western World.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  119. Jackie in Dallas

    No. If President Obama, and the Congress, want to retain their credibility — which is dropping rapidly (especially for Congress) — they need to be more transparent about legislation.

    While I’m not particularly pro or con the bill itself (I’d need to read it first and do the research), I’m with you in thinking that Congress is trying to play stupid games, which pisses me off!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  120. Dea in Fayetteville NC

    Not only no, but HELL NO!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  121. Annie, Atlanta

    Thanks, Jack. You're one of a few who actually does what we expect from the media: call out what’s being done behind our backs. There are some blogs that keep track of congress daily. Read up people. If it’s not sensational, chances are the media won’t cover it, and we’re left in the dark.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  122. eric-hampton va

    Taking the proper steps to getting a bill to pass is good but setting the bill aside like $250 billion is just chump change that they can throw around and then pass it without input from others is not good for america. But the senate can keep the chump change ill keep my freedom and guns.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  123. Skyler - Miles, IA

    The case when a promise is made is that the promise will be circumvented. It is always the case of politics. There are those who look for way around cases like these, and the truth is that when bills are introduced, there has to be a way to pay for it. It is either paid by increasing the deficit or raising taxes. A way will be found, despite if it is Republican or Democratic, and that is why I am an independent.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  124. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, I've seen some doctor bills and what Medicare pays. If the payments were scheduled to decrease as you state then many doctors would probably have to stop seeing Medicare patients. I don't consider this part of any health care reform. I consider this a correction of a misguided decision to decrease the payments in the first place.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  125. Ken in NC

    Since we own 80% of AIG we should take 80% of the bonus to be paid out to their BIG WHEELS and apply it to the 250 billion and take the remaining 20% from the members of congress that are on the payroll of and holding part time jobs with the Health Care Industry and use the sum of the two and pay for the 250 billion 10 year Doctors payment increase.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  126. Edward from Chicago....

    I dont think so....

    October 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  127. Katja, Bradenton, Florida

    NO, doctors get too much money. The morons in Congress get too much money. Everyday the drama gets more and more rediculous.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  128. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    TGIF! What can I add Jack! Nothing surprises me anymore!!!! I guess this is now the friday five o'clock news...!

    Hope you have a good weekend! Hope the little boy gets well!!~

    October 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  129. L.Pierce

    Well, I don't agree with the tactic. I don't agree now and I didn't agree when Bush tallied the cost of the Iraq war in the national debt so the deficit wouldn't be even more than it already ended up being when he left office.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  130. Darrel

    Jack

    If they pass that 250 billion dollar in cuts for payments
    to doctors, will my issurance company reduced their fee's
    they charge me?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  131. Jim

    Why not? As we were promised, just more of the same.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  132. Catherine

    From Malden, MA – NO empahtically is my answer that doctors should get this money. And also I question why it isn't going to the finance committee. You're right...we are not stupid...and I for one would like to know who and how our representatives voted and their reasoning (if any) behind it. Perhaps you can post this on your website

    October 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  133. Joshua

    As a spouse of a first year resident, we support health care reform but we are worried that if reform passes we will spend the rest of our lives trying to pay back medical school costs, which for four years was about $200K. This idea of putting more money into it for Doctors is a good idea, especially considering how more and more doctors and future doctors will decide on a different career if health care continues the way it is as it is.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  134. Stephen Fox

    Why not, Jack - the President's health care bill is going to cost TWO TRILLION DOLLARS! What's $250-million in the face of that?

    And, yeah, they separated this so President Obama could say he (they) didn't add to the deficit with the health care bill (but we'll see on that one in the end, too, won't we?)

    At least they're starting in the right direction toward 'one-context-only' bills, which is something I think would help clean up Washington D.C. by getting rid of bills that tack-on everything *different*, from studying snails to saving the everglades, to whatever omnibus bill is on their platter. If they keep going, we might just get rid of earmarks (oh, who am I kidding?) :-)

    –Panama City, Florida

    October 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  135. Joe in VA

    Jack, this is just too confusing for me. On the one hand the administration says they are going to help fund health care by cutting waste in Medicare ( wonder why it hasn't been cut before?) and also by cutting Medicare allowances. However, Medicare is also held up as model of a good government program when there is discussion as to whether the government can effectively manage a public option. Now this bill for increases in doctor fees in fees. My head is spinning. I guess it's the old adage, "If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS. "

    By the way, many doctors now refuse Medicare patients because of low fees. Keep cutting fees and they will be fewer doctors. Another rock and hard place.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  136. Matt, Washington DC

    Sure, Why Not...?

    We've already had Cash for Clunkers, Acorn's Buck's for Brothels and Bridges to Nowhere... Now, Dough for Doctors,

    ...and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  137. Jimmy Meyer

    This is the government branch that promised to be transparent and reduce the defict? this is appaling. at least with Bush he was so arrangant he did everything in the open. Obama is being very sneaky and i really have flipped on him . I like him as a person but he seems to be going the wrong way lately

    October 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  138. Diane - MO

    Absolutely NOT. How long must we deal with absurdity after absurdity by Congress? Hmmm...perhaps until we decide that members of Congress should not be awarded lifelong careers...OR perhaps until we decide that offering the moon & the stars as part of their compensation package is not a good idea after all...OR perhaps until we finally spend some well-deserved time in learning about the people running for office before actually voting .

    RE: deficit spending...Does Congress even know which way is up or down?

    Since the "bail-out", I have been constantly amazed at the actions of our Congress...
    either the least intelligent people of the U.S. are located in Congress
    – OR –
    the life of a congressman is just so darn good that these "intelligent" congressmen feel it their right to ignore what the people want by constantly turning their backs on us and simply thinking, "Frankly, Charlotte, I don't give a damn!"

    October 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  139. Marjorie

    If Medicare reimbursement were not more than adequate, there would not be miles and miles of physician's offices, clinics, diagnostics, labs here in Central Florida, which is relatively sparsely populated. These doctors are not here just for the climate.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  140. John

    Jack,

    I think you're off the mark with this one. If doctors don't get reimbursed properly then they won't take Medicare patients and they will have no where to go. If this gets bundled into the health reform bill, then it becomes a political football and nobody gets anything.

    Look, we should have really come to gripes with Medicare a long time ago. Along with Social Security, Medicaid, our Energy and Health Care systems, and so on and so on.

    John
    Falls Church, Virginia

    October 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  141. Joan Evans

    Perhaps Congress could use the money that the President currently says is wasted in Medicare and assign it to higher doctor's fees. Could it be that all this waste is just a budget balancing fantasy?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  142. Michael Hullinger

    I am a Democrat and I am starting to feel that my future and my unborn childs future is slipping away. I am only 24 years old and feel that I will not be able to retire or "live the american dream" like my parents. Lets hope that Congress will think with their brains and not their pocket books.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  143. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Just about any professional association with a recognizable acronym ... AMA, ABA, etc. ... is really a union. This bill makes the case for true health care reform. What you have here is the doctor's union (AMA) negotiating with their primary employer (the U. S. Government ... i.e. all of us) for a raise. Clearly, the insurance companies, (who have their own association,) are smarter than Congress.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    October 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  144. Joan

    It is just amazing to me how it makes our debt go so high when it is for the very people who pay the taxes, BUT if it is for the wars that are as far as I can see are getting no where, well that is just fine. If the money is for another country, well that is just fine too.
    I guess we don't count for anything unless except for the taxes we pay. It doesn't matter if we live or die, just so they can sit in Washington and look like big shots!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  145. michael

    To all of you who think the doctors are the "evil" ones, cry your hearts out when none are around in your time of need. The economics of medicine are such that costs of running a practice are rising and reimbursements are declining. Doctors are leaving practice in droves and access to care is going to decline substantially. A plumber makes more per hour than your physician. Your electrician makes more per hour than your physician. Your attorney is charging $500/hour and driving expensive cars but you don't complain about that. Why are people so angry?? Because they think healthcare should be free. Why are those that spent $200,000 on education and delayed their careers until they were into their 30's so resented?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  146. Gail

    Jack, do you realize doctors get Medicare cuts yearly? How many other people do you know who get yearly cuts instead of raises? Would that work for you if you went to college for 4 years, med school for 4 years, internship for 1 year and residency for 3 or more years? And then get treated like crap by the public to boot as if they are to blame for health care costs??? I think not. More will walk away than you realize!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  147. Kelley

    No, Cogress should not give a back door raise to Doctor's. The additional $250 Billion combined with the health care plan is not sustainable. Someone has to slow down and look at this from a bigger piture mentality. The quick fix always leaks. Why is it necessary that Congress gets this done in the next 3 months. Can't we get a team of knowledgeable doctors and econonics to work on this project from the standpoint of long term viability?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  148. Julie

    ABSOLUTELY! In this whole healthcare equation- it is the doctors who are getting the short end of the stick receiving reimbursements that are so ridiculously low that it is impacting family practice residencies. If something is not done to increase their reimbursements rates so that they can make a living– we will not have the kind of healthcare that we deserve. It is the insurance industry who is killing the healthcare system- they are making huge profits while family practice physicians earnings are being capped while their malpractice insurance rates continue to increase. It will all work out- there will be a savings with prevention and technology advances.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  149. Mandy

    I need to read more about this bill. I'm interested to see if the money is set aside for the urban, rural or both. Rural providers are actually reimbursed LESS from Medicare than urban providers. If this is a government measure to increase provider incentive for rural environments, it can have a great benefit and "increase quality care" for underserved populations.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  150. Karen

    I work for a doctor's office and I don't believe most people understand what a paltry amount Medicare actually pays the doctors. A $6000 charge for a surgeon's fee for a cataract surgery would be reimbursed about $400. The anesthesia for said procedure would be about $600 and reimbursement would be around $50. Whether it should be in a separate bill or not, I don't know but Medicare reimbursement definitely needs to be increased.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  151. Judy

    Jack, I think you've missed the boat on this one. Left over from the GWB Administration, Medicare providers would take a 21% decrease in payments as of Jan. 1, 2010. Most physicians already get approx. $45. per Medicare patient visit. If the decrease takes place, the majority of Drs. will begin refusing Medicare patients. I, as a senior, support the Bill to halt this decrease to Doctors, one hundred and ten per cent. I don't care HOW the politicians have to get it passed. Just pass it so we can get adequate care in our senior years.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  152. Bett Burton

    Yeah sure,why not another deficit!!!!!!!

    WER'E DOWN THE TOILET ANYWAY!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  153. Cheryl B - Tampa FL

    I say "A BIG FAT YES!" to higher fees for "physicians and doctors"

    I say "A BIG FAT NO!" to higher incomes for CEOs, Congress, Senators, Governors, the upper 10% of Presidents, CFOs, Vice Presidents, Directors of Insurance Companies or Large Corporations who can care less about humanity. As long as they can make a buck by moving jobs to China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico and the Philippines, then I say "NO" to helping them out with taxpayer funds. I don't think any of these people have ever helped anyone other than themselves.

    So, YES, I would rather my tax dollars, which I do pay and do not try to hide with some offshore tax haven, go to someone such as a doctor or nurse who is interested in helping me when I am sick, injured, near death, or just want to talk, and I say NO to those corporate entities that have no feeling for anyone and who don't mind taking everyone to the cleaners.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  154. Paul from Canada

    I think Doctors, in comparison to the average person, are already well compensated. Working for a reduced fee on Medicare should be their way of 'giving back' to society. Time for government to grow a few...simply because they are doctors is no reason to treat them any different than workers in any other field. Everyone else is tightening their belts, so can they.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  155. Michael Angelo

    Medicare reimbursements have been steadily declining over the last two decades, which has led to a steady trend of subsidizing government health care programs with private insurance plans. The current medicare pay schedule is not sustainable and if left unchanged could likely lead to a more profound dependence on private insurance policies. I'm in my 4th year of medical school and my wife is in her 4th year of residency. I'm strongly in favor of a public option, but it must be one that covers the actual cost of delivering these services. A public option that continues low reimbursements could well lead to an over dependence on the private sector that leads to its decline, which would remove the source of subsidy that is sustaining the system, ultimately precipitating a collapse on a national level.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  156. Sharon

    No they should'nt!!!!!!!!!!!!! They need to lower doctors saleries just like the ceos, also cut the bonuses. Also lower dr fees they are outrages. If more people were able to see dr.s and stay healthy maybe people wouldnt get sick so much.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  157. Clark R.

    Of course they should Jack. We already owe the Chinese about $800 billion dollars. Why not make it a cool trillion? Pretty soon we will have to change our name from the United States of America to the People's Republic of Bums. I voted for President Obama to stop the crazy D.C. spending. This is not change i can believe in.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  158. David corrigan

    CNN is doing a disservice by presenting this as "higher" fees, this bill would keep Medicare reimbursement the same and avoid a CUT, doctors are being forced to provide services to seniors for barely enough to pay overhead,Physicians have seen their incomes decline disproportionate to lawyers, engineers and other professionals. Keep in mind that the avg debt after med school is 200k. If this bill does not pass it will mean that some providers will refuse Medicare and therefore have less seniors will suffer.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  159. Suzie

    Mr. Cafferty: Yes this may be a bill that the dems are trying to push, however Dr.s do need more money from medicare for their services. The elderly need to have physicians who will take them on as patients. I know many Dr.s as I work in healthcare and their average reimbursement for a medicare patient is $18.00. Really now, do you think that they deserve less money for their time than I get when they have spent 3 times longer for their education and have a great responsibility for our health. Come on...Medicare patients take twice as long to see as younger patients, so therefore, a Dr. may only be making that $18 for an hours work. Do you work for $18 an hour ;or do you think the Dr. that sees a patient should only make that much?????
    You people of news are not reporting news...you are saying things that people want to hear. Controversy leads to viewers....how about talking to some Dr.s to find out the real news.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  160. Jimmy Meyer

    also i love your show. I am an Independant and I am a veteran of the 4th Infantry Div. my dad was in the Navy on the USS Minneapolis in WWII, my grandfather was in the 4th Infantry in WWI, my oldest son is a US Marine just got back from his 2nd tour in Iraq and the little guy is an EOD in the US Army. we all went in from New York. I hope you keep getting these great bits of government actions that they try to sneak by us but we all seem to be a big flock of dumb sheep while the heraders do whatever they want to us with our money, our future and our childrens future. keep up the great work
    Jimmy

    October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  161. Jim Visco

    Sure,after all we are giving billions of dollars to everyone else,why not to the POOR Doctors. Also don't you think that the President is also trying to butter up the Doctors to help his overall goal?? I say yes help everyone except the POOR little guy that dosen't have a job and the OLD Folks on Social Security that won't get a raise this year, but might get $250.00 to help STIMULATE his blood presure. God Bless America (I think someone else said that didn't he ???

    October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  162. Mark

    Mr Cafferty

    I am a physician and I want to point something out. The 21% reduction in payments to physicians is a result of the balance neutral nature of Medicare. As expenses go up for imaging, defensive medicine
    and cost of health care overall the system looks for ways to save money for budget neutrality. The 'extra' 21% would be what physicians would make anyway, but every year Medicare proposes cuts to physican payments to keep the budget neutral. Do you think it's fair that doctor's salaries should decrease by 21%? would you still
    work at CNN if every year they cut your pay by 21%? This is what happens to physican pay, along with rising malpractice rates. The 21% is not some giant raise to doctors...it would be the amount needed to keep things status quo.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  163. T.

    Are you kidding me? Where are they getting the money from? Perhaps from the savings windfall accrued by NOT providing cost of living increases to social security payments? How about collecting some of that bailout money from the banks before we sweatheart deal the Doctors! How about bailing out America by abolishing the senate. Now there's an idea that would get some traction, save a boat load of money and free up some network news time from the elimination of congressional scandals.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  164. S.

    Instead of asking if we can afford adding 250 billion to the deficit, we should be asking whether we can afford the crisis this proposal will cause if it is not passed. Doctors aren't going into Primary Care as it is and the reimbursement cuts scheduled will make the majority of private primary care practices unsustainable. There is no other job you have to work at least 12 years at before your first pay check, pay 200K for schooling, lose over half your money to taxes and insurance and work over 100 hours a week on salary, no overtime.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  165. maher Ibrahim

    Yes, more and more doctors including Specialists are dropping Medicare patients. If things continue the way it is, I may not find a doctor to treat me soon.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  166. Joyce L. Rankin

    If Congress did nto add to the deficit, they would do nothing, and since they must do sonething, adding to the deficit is it. They are all fiscally irresponsible. I say 'LET'S VOTE THEM OUT."

    October 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  167. ken m.

    Jack ,alot of doctors and even hospitals,over charege medicare by billions, my brother went into a califorina hospital with a high fever,many weeks when he left he left with a missing leg ,they could not explain about ,plus the bill to califorinas answer to medicare was over, $ 1,000,000.00,showing many operations ,but nothing to show it was ever done,good doctors are suffering due to this yet you see nothing being done,fix that and you will fix everything for good doctors and hospitals. ken

    October 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  168. michael

    I don't agree with backroom politics, but people don't realize that the access to physicians and medical care is on the decline. Do you ever wonder why it takes weeks to months to get into see a specialist?? Medical malpractice insurance and the cost sof running a practice are rising and doctors fees have remained flat or declined for years. The economics of this, as with any business, are that you have to close your doors if your expenses exceed your revenue. People are taking out their anger on "the rich doctors" but the reality is that most "professionals" are making much more than physicians and many physicians can't and do not want to practice any more. Once that happens, it won't matter what health care reform we have.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  169. Suzie

    People, they are talking about Dr.s who treat the elderly not specialists or surgeons. Dr.'s in general make a good living, however for many of the patients who they see they either get short paid or they just don't get paid at all. DO YOU WORK FOR FREE after spending as much as 10-15 years in school after high school graduation??? Wake up people.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  170. Bob

    Lets see? Pay the doctors more, so they can pay the lobbyists, so they can pad the pockets of the congress.

    Sounds like a deal. How does the average citizen get on this gravy train. $400 Million spent on the Health Care Lobby and they want more.

    What about reducing the cost of health care and the uninsured? That right - Don't get sick and if you do Die early with empty pockets.

    This is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!! We should pay them with Chinese IOUs.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  171. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    Jack; At first congress said that they were going to save money,And it would not cost anything. But I don't care how much money congress saves the tax payers, It always cost. Money goes somewhere. But where??? If they do a good job and clean up the corruptions, They deserve a bonus.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  172. George

    Health Care is desperately needed. Back door legislation will doom real reform.
    George
    Scarsdale, NY

    October 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  173. Rasta T

    The real question is why do you keep calling this a bill to raise doctors' fees? This, as you admit early in the article, is a bill to stop the 21% reduction to doctors' fees. Since when does stopping a cut amount to an increase? Your logic and wording are twisted.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  174. Charles Reed

    faget about it! you pay a little here and you pay a little there, its a new game call Three Card Monte, what the big deal!
    And we thought the mob was bad. At least the mob did not charge your great, great, great grandchildren taxes to payoff your bad casino tab. I thought Madoff accountant was lock up in sing sing, didnt did not get the news here in the heartland he got the Presidential pardon to work on the hill's budget committee. Can you say Medical PONZI

    October 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  175. David corrigan

    PEOPLE read what the article says, avoid a 21 percent reduction, no increase in their.... WHY should doctors take a paycut. Are lawyers or politicians taking paycuts????

    October 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  176. Doug

    I like how this is framed, $250 billion over ten years. Just use longer lengths of time to make the number seem larger. That's $25 billion per year. Less than 5% of what is spent on our grossly inefficient military. What are our priorities in this country. Think about the hundreds of billions wasted on Iraq.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  177. T.

    What do the Doctor's need a federal kick-back for, anyway? Green's fee haven't gone up. Jet fuel is holding steady. Marina fee's are the same as last year. I haven't noticed a price increase on Bentley's lately. What gives?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  178. Claire

    I have waited for seniors to respond to Doctors and their biling practices and over charges. After showing a zero balance 2 years
    ago I am now billed for $175.00. I have not gone to this Doctor
    for two years. Have you read a medicare bill? Doctors are driving
    Hummers and living in mansions not because they lack money.

    I say Obama should stay with his campaign promises and we
    just may clean up the waste and fraud in medicare, medicare and
    the piggish behavior of some Doctors.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  179. Alvun H. Felman, M.D.

    Jack,

    Why are you in support of reducing the medical benefits of seniors by reducing the payments to doctors by 20% , while you favor a health bill that prevents private insurance companies from doing the same to the rest of the population? We seniors pay good money for our medicare insurance and the needed supplement. It is not free. Medicare should go after the billions of dollars paid for chiropractors, accupuntures and other alternative medicines and perks to medical suppliers, instead of the physicians who provide the real medical service for seniors.

    A. H. Felman, M.D.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  180. Marion/Alabama

    Obama said he would not sign a bill that increases the deficit,due to health care. So Now is that going to be another lie? Why can we not impeach him for lying?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  181. Howard Miller

    If, as you say, "(We–meaning you) are not stupid," then your distortion of this bill must be deliberate. You, repeatedly, referred to the 250 billion dollar (over what period of time?) medicare bill as intending to "...increase doctor's fees." The truth is that it is intended to prevent a potentially disastrous decrease that would, in fact, threaten quality care to seniors. You may be correct regarding the manner in which the bill was introduced; however, you do not need to influence your argument with gratuitous and emotionally evocative misinformation

    October 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  182. Diane - MO

    Absolutely NOT. How long must we deal with absurdity after absurdity by Congress? Hmmm…perhaps until we decide that members of Congress should not be awarded lifelong careers…OR perhaps until we decide that offering the moon & the stars as part of their compensation package is not a good idea after all…OR perhaps until we finally spend some well-deserved time in learning about the people running for office before actually voting .

    RE: deficit spending…Does Congress even know which way is up or down?

    Since the “bail-out”, I have been constantly amazed at the actions of our Congress…
    either the least intelligent people of the U.S. are located in Congress
    – OR –
    the life of a congressman is just so darn good that these “intelligent” congressmen feel it their right to ignore what the people want by constantly turning their backs on us and simply thinking, “Frankly, Charlotte, I don’t give a damn!”

    October 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  183. ann

    It pleads the case for single payer. As a Medicare recipient who pays 20% of the physician fees not covered by Medicare, I can promise you that if physician reimbursement is reduced further, I will be hard-pressed to find a doctor who will see me. And if i do, my co-pay will go up.
    Can you say rock and hard place?
    Massive overhaul is the only way forward. Sadly, it will be too late by the time the 'powers that be' figure this out.
    So I am hunkering down and sheltering in place–until the bank comes calling.

    [ps.............adore you, jack!]

    October 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  184. Tim

    No, Why are we letting the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?????????

    October 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  185. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    How much money can we borrow from China before they own us.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  186. Dee in FL

    Higher doctor's fees!

    Part of the PROBLEM with health care is that doctors all think they are in it to get rich! What happened to becoming a doctor to help others?

    HOWEVER, When did we get to be such a MEAN nation that we carp about payiong to he;lp out fellow citizens get health care? How come we are not carping about fighting two useless wars? If we got out of Iraq and Afghanistan we could probably fund all the health care reforms needed and wind up with a few bicks left in our pockets!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  187. Clare

    Yes. I say this because I know doctors don't make a profit on medicare patients, and if it takes some creative thinking to get a health care bill passed, I don't care. I would rather add to the deficit because of health care than because some rich Republicans were connected to companies who could profit from war decided to make up a reason to invade Iraq! Just for the record, I actually believe in the war with Afganistan; the Taliban treat women like @#$%, and they have to be stopped!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  188. T.

    What is wrong with this Congress? They can't get a health care deal passed because every Tom, Dick, and Harry Sign Painter scares the hell out of them, but they have no problem railroading a 250 billion dollar deal to the Doctor's on the sneak tip. How 'bout sneaking some help to The American people and stop with the Potomac two-step with every lobbyist with big pockets. That dance is played. It's old and we're sick of it.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  189. Karen, TN

    No.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  190. Matt

    Increasing fee schedules for providers will absolutely improve access to quality healthcare for seniors. The government establishes "usual and customary" fee schedules based on a provider's zip code. By accepting medicare patients, i am currently agreeing to a 20% reduction of those fees. If a further 20% reduction were to take place, I will no longer accept medicare patients because my costs would exceed the medicare reimbursement.

    Obviously, our elected officials don't understand the economics at play. Keep in mind, most physicians are also business owners. Unlike the legislators in Washington, if our spending exceeds earnings we go out of business... they get re-elected.

    Matt
    Physician

    St. Louis, Missouri

    October 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  191. AB in L.A.

    STOP THE INSANITY! No they should not pass a separate bill! What happened to all the accountability, the transparency of the process in congress on CSPAN the President promised and the reduction in Lobyist influence? I am a African American mid level professional and a Democrat who has been unemployed for over a year, it seems as though all the jobs are in the industry's that receieved bailout money. If the idiots at Goldman Sachs were so smart how come they couldn't save themselves without tax payers money? Enough, I guess the change I voted for will not save me!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  192. JoAnn Behan

    NO! An Additional 250 Billion Dollars should not be added to the Health Care Bill! The majority Democratic Congress and the Obama Administration is by far the most Partisan and most Non- Transparent
    group ever to be elected, and hopefully they will be ousted in the upcoming elections. This is a Democracy, NOT a Dictatorship!

    JoAnn
    Tennessee

    October 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  193. jeannie

    What's 250 billion dollars more!? Keep adding to the debt and force the few employed people to repay the TRILLIONS of dollars. With no Social Security & higher heathcare cost being passed on to me. When or if I would be able to retire in 36 years when I am 80 years old. So whats 250 billion dollar more.

    Don't see any assistance to the effected families but monies went to the hands of already well-to-do companies that are hoarding the monies. The only way the economy will improve is that the companies need to lend a hand to boost the economy by being selfless.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  194. Lance Denney In Ca

    BIG PICTURE!
    1- Dems have to FIX things and CREATE JOBS or they'll get kicked to the curb in the mid-term elections.

    2-Republicans have to STOP ALL FIXES or THEY will get kicked to the curb for DECADES to come.

    Who do you want to win?

    What's their BIGGEST worry?

    Imagine what the economy will do with 1/3 -1/2 the money currently going to Insurance Companies staying in WORKING CLASS paychecks and Business Profit margins! Plus there's another 80+% of the Stimulus $ to spend!

    This is why Pelosi has been grinning at so many meetings. It's a DONE DEAL. The people VOTED for it, and the Dems are playing the game to get it.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  195. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    45, 000 Americans die every year because they lack healthcare.

    IF 45,000 Americans were dying each year because of terrorist attacks, you can bet, that the Republicans would DO something to stop the deaths!

    However, 45,000 Americans die each year because they lack healthcare and the Republicans do not care!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  196. peter

    Yes Doctors pay should be increased,especially those primary care doctors who take care of patients more.If doctors pay is reduced,Medicare in America will die.It will not be good for America.Primary care doctors work so hard more than specialist doctors,so if their pay is cut sorry for America's health care.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  197. luci - Peoria, Il.

    I would take the health care reform public option vote, before the Congress and to heck with the Republicans.
    Let them filabuster and see the air go out of their balloons.
    That will show how ignorant they are.
    Look at how many bills that were passed when Bush was in office and not one filabuster.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  198. David Lacey

    It`s clear to me , that congress has no intention of controlling costs , if they plan to increase payments to doctors by $250 B . Why don`t they lower their own benefits (including retirement benefits ) , if they really want to do something for the people who put them in office in the first place .

    October 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  199. DawnL,CA

    Very few doctors accept Medicare & it has gotten worse in recent years. I do wonder how a doctor can make any money off medicare when all I pay for an office visit is $10.00. I haven't been admitted to a hospital since I have had medicare so I don't know the cost to me for such admittance.
    I would gladly pay more for an office visit if more doctors would accept medicare.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  200. steve in virginia

    What kind of question is this? During the last 40 years our government has done everything possible to prevent US citizens from preparing for retirement including the encouragment to outrsource the source of our prosperity- our jobs, depressing wages and taking jobs through insourcing (both legal and illegal), shafting us with deregulation, and otherwise throwing our citizens under the bus on behalf of special interests. It's our elected officials that either prevented or enabled the prevention of these seniors to prepare for retirement. We have a moral obligation to help folks who need help and the price tag will remain high until the government restores our ability to achieve personal responsibility.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  201. Kim in Mpls

    "With 800,000 doctors as of 2006 it works out to over $300,000 per doctor. It’s a Wallstreet bonus given to doctors!"

    Actually Wallstreet or Goldman is planning on $700,000 per employees' bonus. That's double what the Doctors will get for 10 years and next year Goldman employees will get it again!

    October 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  202. Roland-St George,UT

    What Congress is doing is putting a second story onto an already existing house of cards that was already built with spit, glue and duct tape. Why don't they just tear the damn thing down and re-build from the foundation up? And do it right this time.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  203. julie Holmes

    Many doctors already refuse to accept Medicare patients because of inadequate reimbursement. There should be provisions made to pay doctors or Medicare will become like Medicaid which very few doctors will accept. So, yes I want legislation which makes Medicare attractive to doctors no matter how it gets passed.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  204. starr

    I'm a retired RN (specialty Orthopaedics, Geriatrics & O.R.) I'm on Medicare too!
    The doctors today received 80% payment from Medicare (much Less under Medicade) and the remaining 20% of Medicare are paid by the Patients'.
    Many patients' cannot pay the remaining 20% given todays' economy.
    I'm Not trying to Defind the Docs', (especially Family Care Docs' (of which there is a large Shortage.)
    I support the Bill for increase in Dr.'s Medicare increase.

    October 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  205. Steve Domnitz

    Jack, the Medicare Physicians Fairness Act is NOT a 250 billion dollar raise for physicians. Each year, medicare pay to physicians is supposed to be cut lower and lower according to legislation passed a few years ago. However, each year congress hads temporarily suspended those cuts, leaving an even bigger cut scheduled for the following year. This bill will simply eliminate those scheduled cuts. Jack, if you were told that you're supposed to get a pay cut and then your boss changes his mind, do you feel like you got a raise?????

    October 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  206. R. Sovish

    Yes, doctors should get a raise. They are getting ripped off just like we patients by the government and the insurance health industry. What I object to is the slimy way this is being handled in the Senate-but what else is new? Slimy politicians do slimy things all the time. I don't understand folks continuing to say we are not stupid. Oh no, then why do we vote these same bozos in to office continually? And then there are the conservatives who keep saying that we must keep the government out of health care! What, apparently they don't mind the insurers and all the other health care clerks deciding their medical needs? Lastly, the Congresspersons' continual complaints about cost is a red herring. They didn't mind giving themselves and their staffers a big annual raise, nor continuing to fund TWO wars that never can be won while nation building overseas (but not here), throwing billions that have morphed into trillions to banks, etc. etc.
    But remember, the Senate finance committee received over $3 million dollars of campaign money from the health industry last year,
    with a; high of 1.7 million to Max Baucus and a low of $340,000 to Olympia Snowe. What makes anyone think these people are going to turn down this lucre to fix our health care problems?

    October 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  207. ADS-Seattle

    A trillion here, a trillion there. Before you know it, we are talking REAL money here.

    October 16, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  208. Harry Moscatiello

    No wonder why Congress doesn't make lie detector tests admissable in court. Someone might want to put these elected officials on one to see if they lied while in office. God forbid the results.

    October 16, 2009 at 6:36 pm |