Hoyer: Dems likely to oppose 'doc fix' with O-Care 'poison pill'

The second-ranking House Democrat on Tuesday said a Republican attempt to pay for a bipartisan Medicare fix by delaying ObamaCare’s individual mandate was a “poison pill,” and party leaders were inclined to urge their members to oppose it.

“The Republicans continue to turn bipartisan agreement into partisan confrontation,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The House legislation, expected to come for a vote on Friday, would permanently repeal annual cuts to Medicare provider payments, long opposed by both parties and subject to yearly patches. But while that measure is the product of bipartisan negotiations in both the House and Senate, Republican leaders plan to use revenue generated by delaying the healthcare law’s insurance requirement to pay for it.

Hoyer argued the House GOP had similarly tarnished bipartisan deals last year on the farm bill and the Violence Against Women Act before both bills eventually passed.

Hoyer noted the opposition of several groups that have long pushed for a permanent repeal of the Medicare sustainable growth rate, known in Washington as the “doc fix.” Those include the American Medical Association and AARP.

Asked if he would urge Democrats to vote no on the bill, Hoyer said the leadership would wait to see the bill text and the score from the Congressional Budget Office. But he added, “That’s my inclination, yes.”

The legislation is expected to draw some Democratic votes, regardless of the leadership position. Last week, 27 Democrats voted with Republicans to reduce the 2014 penalty for not buying insurance to $0.