Healthcare

Reid: No comment yet on ‘doc fix’ deal

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is staying quiet about the emerging House deal to end Medicare’s “doc fix” problem, which he says is “still a work in progress.”

“I personally am going to wait until we see it having passed the House before we start speculating what we need to do with it, if anything,” Reid told reporters Tuesday.

Reid said he is expecting the bill to reach the Senate late Thursday if members of the House “works to their full efficiency,” and will not give his position on the legislation until then.

{mosads}Timing will be tight: Congress only has until next Tuesday to pass a bill to prevent a massive reimbursement cut for thousands of Medicare doctors.

Senate Democrats have emerged as one of the biggest hurdles for the deal, which is the result of weeks of negotiations between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee said this weekend that they would oppose the bill unless it contains four years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The current House deal would extend funding for two years, which Pelosi has called a necessary compromise.

When asked about CHIP on Tuesday, Reid said he believes “four years of CHIP is the right thing to do,” but declined to say if it would force him to oppose the rare bipartisan deal.

Other Senate Democrats have raised alarms about abortion-related language in the bill, which has been blasted this week by groups like Planned Parenthood.

The bill would provide an extra two years of funding for about 1,200 community health centers nationwide, but those centers would be subject to the rules of Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions.

Pelosi has defended the inclusion of abortion language, which she said will only take place for two years. And in a surprise move, the Pro-Choice Caucus also voiced support for the deal.

Reid declined to say whether he had concerns with the abortion language, adding that “there’s been a lot done” to change the bill in recent days. 

Tags Boehner Harry Reid John Boehner
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