Boehner: 'Conservatives should be happy’ about Medicare 'doc fix'

Boehner: 'Conservatives should be happy’ about Medicare 'doc fix'
© Greg Nash

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE (R-Ohio) on Friday took a jab at the small group of fiscal conservatives who have fiercely opposed his bipartisan, $200 billion deal to reform Medicare.

“Conservatives should be happy we got this done, and confident Republicans will continue fighting to curb Washington’s worst habits for the sake of our children’s future,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE wrote in an op-ed Friday for the IJ Review.

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The Medicare "doc fix" bill, which was personally negotiated by Boehner, was passed overwhelmingly passed in the Senate Tuesday night. President Obama signed the bill Thursday, staving off steep cuts to payments for doctors who accept Medicare.

Still, the bill drew sharp criticism from influential Republicans in Congress, including Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal Senate passes Armenian genocide resolution Houston police chief stands by criticism of McConnell, Cruz, Cornyn: 'This is not political' MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Tom Hanks weighs in on primary: 'Anybody can become president' GOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling MORE (Florida), who are both competing for the GOP presidential nomination.

They were joined by GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Five takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill MORE (Utah), David Perdue (Ga.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump to sign order penalizing colleges over perceived anti-Semitism on campus: report Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump GOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements MORE (S.C.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE (Ala.) and Richard Shelby (Ala.) in voting against the bill.

Conservative groups including the Heritage Action Foundation and Club for Growth also fiercely opposed the legislation, which they claimed violates the GOP’s promise to reduce the deficit.

To appease fiscal conservatives, Senate leaders allowed Lee to propose an amendment that would force Congress to cover the full costs of the bill. That amendment failed 42-58, garnering the fewest votes out of all six amendments considered that night.

Boehner spent two months quietly working with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to solve a Medicare payment problem that has plagued congressional leaders for more than 20 years.



The stakes were high for Boehner, who tried and failed to secure a deal on the Medicare formula last year.

Boehner has repeatedly stressed that the bill saves money in the long term, arguing in his op-ed that the bill is an “important step” to ultimately reform Medicare.

“We all know that much more must be done to save our entitlement programs, but we have to start somewhere,” he wrote.