Health Care

GOP senator rips ‘doc-fix’ deal

Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) slammed the House-passed $200 billion Medicare deal, saying lawmakers are “shattering” their promise to balance the budget.

“I don’t see how we can look our constituents in the eye and say we’re producing a balanced budget,” he said Monday from the Senate floor, adding that lawmakers are “shattering our promises to our constituents.”

The Senate is expected to vote this week on amendments to the Medicare deal, which would end the program’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) and prevent a series of dramatic cuts to doctor reimbursement payments.

Sessions said if the legislation passes as written it will add that amount to the debt over 10 years.

He said the legislation isn’t paid for despite being told “by a number of people that it was paid for.”

“Was the plan to really balance the budget or to produce talking points,” he asked. “This is why the American people don’t trust Congress.”

Sen. Mike Lee is expected to offer an amendment that would include a pay-for to finance the proposal.

Sessions suggested that while the “doc fix” deal needs to be passed, lawmakers “need to do it responsibly, in a grown up fashion.”

“I wish I didn’t have to say these things, but the truth is this is not responsible,” he said.

Sessions suggested that he had “a list” of ways the legislation could be paid for

“We don’t need to gimmick up this legislation,” he said. “This violates the budget control act.”

House lawmakers passed the deal before parting for a weeks-long recess, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced after the Senate’s late night budget “vote-a-rama” that senators would hold off voting until mid-April.

Tags Jeff Sessions Mike Lee Mitch McConnell

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