Once again the Bush administration is threatening to veto legislation which would prevent June’s scheduled pay cuts to doctors in Medicare because Congress wants to pay for it by trimming some of the billions of dollars in industry subsidies going to private insurers. Let’s see...doctor’s pay cuts or industry subsidies?

For many it’s seems obvious that supporting providers should take priority over government giveaways to an industry already seeing record profits thanks to the privatization of Medicare; however, for the Bush administration the priority continues to be to protect this industry slush fund above all else.

Congress Now quotes our Government Relations and Policy Director, Maria Freese:

“Democrats need to get 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster,but without the support of Republicans like Grassley and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who both oppose MA cuts, it will be difficult for them to be able to meet this threshold, Maria Freese, director of government relations and policy for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said.”They're going to be lucky" to get 60 votes, she said.”

So, once again Congress appears ready to protect these outrageous industry overpayments ($150 billion over ten years) even though they shave almost two years from Medicare’s solvency, and force all beneficiaries (not just those enrolled in MA plans) to pay $36 per year in higher premiums. Even MedPac continues to recommend their repeal.

Oh yes, don’t forget why Congress is even debating this issue now. Doctors serving Medicare patients will also face payment cuts in less than a month in order to protect this giveaway to insurers.