Using Legislation as Carrot and Stick


If you've ever been even a little bit skeptical that members of Congress uses threats of punitive legislation and offers of legislative goodies in order to build support for their agendas, two recent examples should put those doubts to rest. First, there was Sen. Chuck Schumer's threat to pursue implicitly punitive legislation in response to the health insurance industry's decision to release a report saying that reform would cause premium prices to spike.

Now, we see Sen. Harry Reid offering doctors a deal: He'll make sure their Medicare reimbursements don't get cut in exchange for their support on health-care reform. The Hill reports:

The White House and Democratic leaders are offering doctors a deal: They'll freeze cuts in Medicare payments to doctors in exchange for doctors' support of healthcare reform. At a meeting on Capitol Hill last week with nearly a dozen doctors groups, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate would take up separate legislation to halt scheduled Medicare cuts in doctor payments over the next 10 years. In return, Reid made it clear that he expected their support for the broader healthcare bill, according to four sources in the meeting.

Legislative bribery or just everyday politics? Sometimes it's tough to tell the difference.