Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors--and by standing in it's way, he's triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.
The American Medical Association warned of this last week: "A Medicare meltdown now seems certain, as the U.S. Senate has left early for the weekend, abandoning seniors, military families and baby boomers," reads an AMA statement from Friday. "The Senate failed to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula that will cause a drastic 21 percent payment cut to physicians who care for Medicare and TRICARE patients. On Monday, the 21 percent cut goes into effect, forcing many physicians to limit the number of Medicare and TRICARE patients they see in order to keep their practice doors open."
On a conference call with reporters this afternoon Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) put it this way: "By his actions, Bunning has prevented people from receiving Unemployment, health care access, transportation projects from going forward, and Doctors who provide Medicare services from getting paid."Bunning's obstinacy has also put 2,000 federal transportation employees out of work, because, ya know, we don't need no stinkin' bridges or roads. This cranky old man is screwing up the entire government singlehandedly, and since he's not running for reelection, even the GOP leadership has no control over him. This, by the way, is the same senator who said "tough shit" when he was earlier asked to drop his objection
I haven't seen anyone screw this many people at once since Richard Nixon was president. Will someone please catch Bunning in the Senate cloakroom and kick his ass for me, so we can get back to work in Washington? Please?