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Weekly remarks: Obama seeks to dodge Medicare cuts, John Boehner fears Democratic deficits

Democrat president Barack Obama on his cellphone in a Car 2010

President Obama's weekly remarks, as provided by the White House

More than a decade ago, Congress set up a formula that governs how doctors get paid by the Medicare program.  The intent was to slow the growth of Medicare costs, but the result was a formula that has proposed cutting payments for America’s doctors year after year after year. These are cuts that would not only jeopardize our physicians’ pay, but our seniors’ health care.

Since 2003, Congress has acted to prevent these pay cuts from going into effect. These votes were largely bipartisan, and they succeeded when Democrats ran Congress and when Republicans ran Congress – which was most of the time.   

This year, a majority of Congress is willing to prevent a pay cut of 21% -- a pay cut that would undoubtedly force some doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients altogether. But this time, some Senate Republicans may even block a vote on this issue. After years of voting to defer these cuts, the other party is now willing to walk away from the needs of our doctors and our seniors.  

Now, I realize that simply kicking these cuts down the road another year is not a long-term solution to this problem.  For years, I have said that a system where doctors are left to wonder if....

... they’ll get fairly reimbursed makes absolutely no sense.  And I am committed to permanently reforming this Medicare formula in a way that balances fiscal responsibility with the responsibility we have to doctors and seniors.  In addition, we’re already taking significant steps to slow the growth of Medicare costs through health insurance reform – not by targeting doctors and seniors, but by eliminating 50% of the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system by 2012.  This not only strengthens Medicare, it saves taxpayer dollars.  

I’m absolutely willing to take the difficult steps necessary to lower the cost of Medicare and put our budget on a more fiscally sustainable path. But I’m not willing to do that by punishing hard-working physicians or the millions of Americans who count on Medicare. That’s just wrong. And that’s why in the short-term, Congress must act to prevent this pay cut to doctors.  

If they don’t act, doctors will see a 21% cut in their Medicare payments this week. This week, doctors will start receiving these lower reimbursements from the Medicare program. That could lead them to stop participating in the Medicare program. And that could lead seniors to lose their doctors.  

We cannot allow this to happen. We have to fix this problem so that our doctors can get paid for the life-saving services they provide and keep their doors open. We have to fix this problem to keep the promise of Medicare for our seniors so that they get the health care they deserve. So I urge Republicans in the Senate to at least allow a majority of Senators and Congressmen to stop this pay cut.  I urge them to stand with America’s seniors and America’s doctors. Thanks.    ####   

Capitol Hill

Remarks by Rep. john Boehner of Ohio, as provided by his office

Hello – I’m John Boehner. In these tough economic times, American families have done their level best to stay afloat – spending less and working more while trying to map out a financially sound future. They deserve that same degree of discipline and vigilance from their government.

But instead of bringing fiscal sanity to Washington like he promised, President Obama has spent taxpayer dollars with reckless abandon, refusing to make tough choices and pushing the burden on to future generations. No price tag has been too high for Washington Democrats, and now we’re all paying the price.  

Unemployment is still close to 10 percent. The private sector is at a near-standstill. Our small businesses are still gasping for air. And having run a small business, I can tell you that the new health care law, with its burdensome mandates and tax increases, is already stalling these engines of our economy.

A new report from the Treasury Department shows that our fiscal situation is much worse than we thought.  Our record national debt – which now tops $13 trillion – is on pace to exceed the size of our entire economy by the middle of this decade.  Economists say that at these levels, our debt is draining enough resources from our country to cost us nearly one million jobs.

We cannot go on like this.  

Real economic growth requires creating jobs in the private sector, and to do that we need to start reining in Washington’s out-of-control spending spree. Less spending, more jobs – it’s that simple.
Economists agree, and this week, I gave President Obama a statement signed by more than 100 of them urging both parties to take immediate, decisive action to cut federal spending.

Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress are busy making backroom deals so that they don’t have to pass a budget this year.

They’d rather keep on spending than seize this critical opportunity to create jobs and boost our economy. But every family knows that in tough times, passing a budget is more important – not less important.

Just as troubling is the fact that President Obama hasn’t uttered a word in protest of Congressional Democrats’ failure to produce a budget.  

Even after being presented with these economists’ pleas for fiscal discipline, he still won’t press leaders in his own party to fulfill their responsibility to the American people.

This is a stunning failure of leadership – the kind of leadership President Obama promised to provide.

Too many in Washington forget that we work for the people, not the other way around.  Taxpayers are just fed up, and they want us to stop spending their hard-earned money.

That’s why, through the America Speaking Out project, Republicans are providing Americans with a megaphone to make their voices heard and help build a better, more responsive government. If you have an idea to cut wasteful Washington spending, log on to right now and start a discussion about it.  

Another interactive Republican initiative – YouCut – gives Americans a chance to vote on specific spending cuts that you want to see Congress implement. And looking forward, Republicans have proposed common-sense solutions to reform the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars, starting with strict budget caps to limit federal spending on an annual basis.

Waiting and hoping for the best is no longer an option, not when 43 cents of every dollar we spend this year is borrowed from our kids and grandkids.  Our posterity shouldn’t have to foot the bill because Washington Democrats can’t do what they were elected to do or summon the courage to say no to special interests with their hand out.

So while I hope President Obama will work with us to stop this spending spree, if he won’t hold Congressional Democrats accountable, then the American people will. Thank you for listening. ####

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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (14)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Obama is the most ridiculously stupid POSident in the history of the USA, even making a moron like Jimmah Cartah look halfway less retarded.

Once again, "YOU LIE !!!" rings true. Words more true were never spoken.

This refrain will become the only appropriate response to his every comment in the 2012 elections and has already become his only lasting legacy.

Obama made this mess of our heath care system and should pay the full political price of his unending duplicity, whether that results in cutting other areas of the budget to offset this additional cost or actually making the cuts to doctors he and his Social Democrat Party demanded be included in Obamacare.

Like all honest Americans repulsed by the socialist changes resulting from the dreadful mistake of electing Obama, I look forward to spitting on his political grave after November.

The truth is the President and Pelosi,Reid provided the CBO 53B in physician pay cuts to make the health care bill palatable knowing full well they didn't intend to make the cuts. That's when they lied.

This president is truly a slime ball.

The Democrats shoved a horrible law through Congress using unethical methods just so they could have the government take over our health care.

The Democrats played shell games with money to make it look like this was paid for. They tax ten years to pay for six years of payouts. They push expenses on insurance plans that will make our premiums skyrocket. They shoved expenses on states that are already bankrupt. They double counted $500 billion.

Democrats are purposely deceptive.

To make it the abomination they shoved down our throat even worse NOW.........NOW they are saying, hey pass this law that will make Obamacare (EVEN with all the shell games we played) bankrupt our country faster. They delayed and delayed this "doc fix" until now just so they could continue to deceive us about the cost of Obamacare.

Democrats have no ethics. Democrats are idiots. Thanks for destroying my country.......I can wait for the riots in Greece to come to our shores.


Stop sitting on comments. The notion that the Times should edit comments for political content or sit on them until it is damned good and ready may be emblematic of the controlling mindset of the mainstream media that is rapidly leading to it's demise, but this is outrageous.

Great post, very interesting to read..

Oh, I get it.

It's a "This is a stunning failure of leadership" when the Democrats do ANYTHING but it is "Leadership" when Republican Leaders offer no solutions, just sit on the sidelines and complain.

Right. Leadership is complaining. The only problem I have with "Republican Leadership" is I have no clue where they want to "lead" us.

(AM responds: Good point except the Republicans were un-elected as congressional leaders in 2006 and by an even larger margin in 2008 and as the White House leader in 2008. Americans obviously wanted the whole responsibility ball of wax in one party's hands.)

If you stop after the first four words "Obama seeks to dodge" you can use this headline for just about everything.

I agree with Student.
Being a Republican or Democrat doesn't matter to me. They're all dirty and just want to keep their jobs. The only thing that changes is that some years it's Democrats doing the whining and some years it's Republicans. If you disagree with something, propose an alternative.

I agree the health care bill was basically rammed down our throats, but I do not know of any alternative bill proposed by nay-sayers.

Rep Boehner makes a valid argument about overspending. I happen to agree. But do any of his 100 economists that signed the bill propose an argument? Were any asked?

It's alot easier to decry the actions of others than stick your neck out and actually try to help fix something.

This cut was part and parcel of Obamacare, the budgeting of Obamacare, and the rules the CBO were forced to use to determine the cost of Obamacare to get it under 1 trillion dollars over then next decade (which was considered a requirement)... but now that's not something that anyone thought was meaningful?

Is Obama admitting he knew the budgeting of Obamacare was a lie, that it would cost trillions in the first decade and raise the cost curve (as it is projected to do) making all healthcare more expensive and damaging the economy further?

No, he's blaming Republicans for not going along with the new plan of destroying the old plan, borrowing trillions more, and doing damage to the economy they said during the Obamacare debates they wouldn't do... how it's the Republicans fault that the Democrats are liars I'm not sure... but I'm sure they'll come up with some reasoning.

Rep Boehner makes a valid argument about overspending. I happen to agree. But do any of his 100 economists that signed the bill propose an argument? Were any asked? It's alot easier to decry the actions of others than stick your neck out and actually try to help fix something. Like all honest Americans repulsed by the socialist changes resulting from the dreadful mistake of electing Obama, I look forward to spitting on his political grave after November.

We need to do something about overspending, it can't keep going on the way it is. As Trump said, we should be taxing China. Great pic of the White House though.

I think Trump might be on to something there about taxing China. I doubt they will ever be able to talk them into that one though. It would help tremendously with overspending though.

- Frank


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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