President Obama must need votes pretty badly to be lowering himself to appear on Fox News, which last I knew was not a real news organization (according to him).
But Obama, looking very uncomfortable and greatly on the defensive, agreed to an interview with Special Report host Bret Baier tonight. And while much of the discussion was about Nancy Pelosi’s sleazy process tactics, which Obama insists don’t matter, I thought the most revealing exchange in the interview concerned the infamous Medicare “doc fix.”
Essentially, Medicare doctors are on the hook for a huge cut in their reimbursements unless Congress “fixes” the formula to make them whole, which will cost $200 billion. Everyone knows Congress will go ahead with the doc fix, which is a crucial element of the cost of health care.
Baier challenged Obama on the fact that the cost of the doc fix is completely left out of the scoring of Obama’s health care proposal, as if it doesn’t exist – and only by ignoring the doc fix is it possible to pretend the bill does not add to the deficit.
Here’s what Obama said in response:
But the — as you well know, the doctors problem, as you mentioned, the “doctors fix,” is one that has been there four years now. That wasn’t of our making, and that has nothing to do with my health care bill. If I was not proposing a health care bill, right — let’s assume that I had never proposed health care . . . (Baier interjects a comment about Obama promising change) . . . Bret, let me finish my — my answers here. Now, if suddenly, you’ve got, over the last decade, a problem that’s been built up. And the suggestion is somehow that, because that’s not fixed within this bill, that that’s a reason to vote against the bill, that doesn’t make any sense. That’s a problem that I inherited. That was a problem that should have been solved a long time ago. It’s a problem that needs to be solved, but it’s not created by my bill. And I don’t think you would dispute that.
This is astounding. Baier’s question had nothing to do with whose fault the problem was. It had to do with the cost of the fix, and the fact that Obama’s bill can only pretend not to add to the deficit if the cost of the doc fix is ignored.
When Obama insists that the doc fix has nothing to do with his health care bill, he unwittingly swerves into the problem, which is that the bill is a complete fraud.
The bill pretends the doc fix doesn’t exist, just as it pretends a whole bunch of other things. It pretends you can count six years of benefits against 10 years of collecting revenues and accurately assess the bill’s cost. It pretends you can take money from Medicare, which is going broke, and count it as savings twice. It pretends that the money collected in those first four years will still be sitting around in a shoebox somewhere waiting to pay for the benefits when they kick in. It pretends you can mandate and subsidize health insurance without driving up the costs of everything.
And without all this pretending, the bill would be an even bigger political disaster than it already is – and it’s quite a disaster at that. But few things I’ve seen exemplify this fraud better than Obama’s doc fix dodge.
Doctor fix? What doctor fix? I inherited that problem and it’s not in my bill!
Oh. Well then, I guess that means the money that will be spent to fix the problem doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter. Because it’s not in Obama’s bill and it’s not his fault. Any money we spend to fix a problem that isn’t Obama’s fault doesn’t matter, because Obama says so.
Have you ever witnessed a more blatant fraud than this?