2. Twenty four hours after dangling it, the Senate dealt Leader Reid and the administration a deadly defeat on the deliberation of the doctor deal that would have bought off the bone setters at a budget busting bottom line of a quarter tril NOT accounted to health care, NOT paid for, doled instead against the GENERAL FUND, and thus adding deleteriously to the deficit.
3. Senate leadership just last week conceived this cynical scheme to slice off a $247B SOP to surgeons in a STAND ALONE provision that would have certified that sawbones NOT see their salaries cut 40% as scheduled in Baucus and HELP and whatever meld ultimately emerges from behind the Leader's locked door.
4. The Baucus bill, in order to satisfy CBO, called for crippling cuts to the compensation forked out to caregivers.
5. Surgeons sighed, their support was central to reform's success.
6. So Reid and Rahm arrived at this backdoor buyoff, the "doctor fix," a stand alone legislation to allot oodles of largesse DE-LINKED from Baucus/Dodd and whatever will be their spawn.
7. The "fix" failed on the floor TODAY, 47 to 53.
8. THIRTEEN democrats sided with Olympia Snowe and a solid GOP contingent to fling this fatal fillip in the forlorn face of Reid and his fellow firebrands.
9. Kent Conrad, Evan Bayh, Russ Feingold, Claire McCaskill, Joe Lieberman, Ron Wyden, Byron Dorgan, Robert Byrd, Jon Tester, Jim Combat Boots Webb, Mark Warner, Herb Kohl and Bill Nelson comprised the unlucky---for Reid---13.
10. Indicatively, included among the hawk-like nonconformists are prominent progressives, mainstream moderates AND conspicuous conservatives.
11. Worrisomely, both Commonwealthers, Warner and Webb, wended their ways towards Snowe and her wingnut crew.
12. Significantly, surgeons, specialists and housemen signal their instransigence.
13. It looks now like healers must needs be aligned alongside Fox, insurers and the Chamber of Commerce as illustrious headliners of leadership's ENEMIES LIST.
14. And, most crucially, the commanding coalition contains clear, distinct, unmistakable CRACKS critical to the creation of any combination requisite to carry Obamacare to conclusion.
15. Health care is stone cold, the patient passed this pm in upper parliament.
16. The bereaved bailiff blamed "Republican dominated Washington."
17. Republican dominated---LOL!
18. Baucus/HELP must now uncover a quarter tril to cull the docs, else earn the enduring enmity of the Aesculapius crowd.
19. The Senate will now surrender on the president's signature issue---SOON.
20. If he can't get 50 for a part, how's he ever gonna get 60 for the whole?
21. All you'll see from here on is going thru motions.
Senate Hands Reid a Defeat on ‘Doc Fix’ - Roll CallThe Senate soundly defeated a $250 billion extension to the Medicare physician payment program Wednesday, marking a potentially inauspicious start for Democratic leaders to the formal floor debate on the larger health care overhaul.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — normally a master vote-counter — was unable to muster even a simple majority for the “doc fix” bill: The legislation was defeated, 47 to 53. A clearly nervous Reid paced the chamber’s well just prior to the vote and afterward looked to blame the defeat on GOP Senators, arguing it was a result of “activities and actions by the Republican-dominated Washington.”
The outcome — and particularly Reid’s inability to secure at least 51 votes — could prove to be an ominous beginning for Democrats on the health care debate.
Indeed, Republicans quickly seized on the doc fix vote to show that Reid lacks support for the broader Democratic reform agenda.
“In the Senate’s first vote on health care spending this year, a bipartisan majority rejected the Democrat leadership's attempt to add another quarter trillion dollars to the national credit card without any plan to pay for it,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the tally. “With a record deficit and a ballooning national debt, the American people are saying enough is enough. Today's vote shows that this message is finally starting to get through to Congress. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come in the health care debate ahead.”
In the end, 12 Democrats and one Independent joined all 40 Republicans in voting against the bill. Among those in the Democratic Conference voting no were: Sens. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) Jon Tester (Mont.), Jim Webb (Va.), Mark Warner (Va.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Russ Feingold (Wis.) Bill Nelson (Fla.), Evan Bayh (Ind.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.). The primary argument among opponents of the measure is that it should contain offsets.
The vote could have been even worse had Reid, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and lead bill sponsor Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) not lobbied a number of Democratic holdouts, including Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who ultimately voted with Democratic leaders. Lincoln, who could face difficult re-election next year, appeared to be particularly pained by the vote and waited almost until the end to cast her vote.
The bill would have protected doctors from scheduled cuts in Medicare over the next decade. Several Senators are looking for an alternative plan that would ensure the payments continue but that they are paid for.