Rockefeller gives hospitals tough love

Rockefeller also made it clear that there is lingering bad blood stemming from the healthcare reform debate. Rockefeller, who chairs the Finance Committee's health panel, was largely shut out of the drafting of the Senate Finance bill last year.

His IPAB provision was largely gutted by carve-outs during the Finance Committee markup because Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and others wanted to retain the support for healthcare reform from hospitals and others. Hospitals will see a $155 billion reduction in federal payments over 10 years under the new law under an agreement they reached with the White House last summer.

"I tremendously opposed — and said so to the highest levels of the White House — the whole idea of carve-outs." Rockefeller said. "I did that on all fronts, at all times, had many commitments which were not honored. Which I will remember."

Rockefeller also took shots at the media — especially television news — for obsessing about the public option at the detriment of other important aspects of the law, such as the medical loss ratio requirements that he championed.

Rockefeller said the healthcare bill contained a number of "mistakes" — mostly minor technical glitches — and that healthcare is something that will be addressed "every single year." But he later told The Hill that he wasn't confident even minor fixes will get the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate because of the intense partisanship, especially over healthcare.

He was also asked about the Medicare physician pay "doc fix" and said he was "not entirely" confident that it would pass as part of the tax extenders bill under discussion in the Senate because of the need for 60 votes. Rockefeller forecast that Democrats would lose four Senate seats in the midterm elections, making it even harder to get anything passed.