A new wedge developed Wednesday between legislative Republicans as they hammered out a new budget deal: President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
House health budget appropriations chairman, Matt Hudson, suggested his Senate counterpart was supporting what conservatives derisively call “ObamaCare” because the Senate plugged $382 million into its proposed budget that dovetailed with some of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
But Sen. Joe Negron said Hudson was misinterpreting the federal law and the Senate’s intent. Negron, R-Stuart, said the bulk of the money — $338 million — was to boost Medicaid reimbursement rates for physicians, who have left the program in droves because of stingy spending by the state.
“This isn’t ObamaCare,” said Negron, R-Stuart. “This is paying doctors more.”
But Hudson pointed out the federal health act calls for higher physician reimbursements.
“This is certainly not the House position, given everything we’re doing to repeal ObamaCare, this is something we’re not interested in,” he said. “We’re not going to implement federal health care in little pieces.”
Negron’s retort: “Tell the House to pass our joint resolution against ObamaCare. We passed it already. It’s sitting over there.”
Also, Negron pointed out that Obama’s health care law calls for higher doctor reimbursement rates in 2013, This money, he said, is for 2012.
And so it went on the first day of joint House-Senate budget conference committees, the tit-for-tat exchange underscoring the politics that play into writing a budget.