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.

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  1. Why do lobbyists get the reputation for sneakiness and sleaziness when the legislators are leading, not following them there?

  2. What is this carrot you speak of and where can it be found?

    I see only many large and heavy sticks.

    1. Harry’s just promising a slightly smaller stick.

  3. Doesn’t the promise not to cut Medicare reimbursement blow the “no-deficit” projections and promise right away?

    1. I’m sure some hard-hitting reporter from the NYT will uncover the truth.

    2. I’m sure some hard-hitting reporter from the NYT will uncover the truth.

      1. Motherfucker.

      2. How do you manage to find so many neat tricks on this blog?

        1. I think it only double posts when I’m opening large image to edit. It slows down the computer just enough to encourage me to double click. I hate everything.

    3. This is like going to a resturant and the waiter telling you to order anything you want. Then you’re shocked when the bill arrives.

      Point beinging we won’t know if it blows the no-deficit projections. It might at face value, but there will probably be a bill, taxes of sorts, that offsets it to make it true.

      Obama ran on the Robin Hood platform, but that will not be his politics. Many people will be disappointed when the waiter shows up with an expensive bill.

  4. I’d exclaim “Dirty Bastards!!”, but I fear that would be redundant.

  5. sometimes? There’s a difference?

  6. Legislative bribery or just everyday politics?


  7. Legislative bribery or just everyday politics?

    Six of one, half dozen of the other.

    I’d have written extortion vice bribery.

  8. Legislative bribery?

    Nahhh….. just looking for whores who will sell themselves cheap.

  9. Of course Congress would never restore those cuts later after getting the Doctors to support them taking over healthcare. No never. A deal is a deal. My God, are people really this stupid?

    1. Yes.

  10. In a way, it’s less like hitting with sticks and more like stabbing with sharpened carrots.

  11. 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.

    HAHAHAHAHA! Really Harry?

    You can go fuck yourself with a diamond-tipped chainsaw and follow up with a carrot laden spear.

    1) Anything you giveth, you can (and will) taketh away. This bill in intrusive, punitive and prohibitively expensive. And you KNOW this you sociopathic schlep!!!!!

    2) This will not work on physicians who have been in practice for a considerable length of time. They know better than to trust government.

    No. This is directed towards med students (most likely group to accept and support goverment intervention) and physicians new to practice, the most debt laden group in medicine (including myself). This is the equivalent of the senior $250.00 rebate in lieu of no COLA for them this year.

  12. “””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.”””

    Uh, raise you drinking age or we withold highway funds!!

    1. That’s partly why there is a federal income tax; people of a state will pay income tax. If they want any of it back, they will do as they are told.

  13. But what if Congress attacks you with a pointed stick?

    Adnotatiunculae bilicis delenda est.

  14. Just wait ’til Harry offers to cancel those med school loans in exchange for “voluntary” service at the Ministry of Wellness.

    1. I was fortunate. My parents paid for my schooling. However, they are rapacious creditors; I would rahter owe them @ 0% interest than sthe State.

  15. P Brooks,

    No kidding. Compulsory service for medical personnel makes a lot of sense, if you think like these jackasses do.

    1. And they agree: “Do NOT let the State determine your practice.”

      Since I am thier POA (if both are incapacitated at the same time) that was another reason they wanted a doctor in the family.

    2. Kind of off the subject, but what makes you think the jackasses will limit themselves to medical personnel?

  16. Everything not prohibited is compulsory.

  17. Legislative bribery or just everyday politics?


  18. What Singapore Can Teach the White House — Its health care is first class, cheap and market-driven:


    Critics of this island-nation often have fun referring to it as the “nanny state” for its laws against spitting, littering, or leaving behind an unflushed loo.

    When it comes to health care, however, Uncle Sam has better claim to the nanny title. From our federal price “negotiations” and state regulations to discrimination in the tax code, government distortions prop up a system that puts key health-care decisions in the hands of everyone but the patient. Each new government intrusion, moreover, begets only higher costs?and a call for more intervention to fix the problem.

    In Singapore, by contrast, they already have universal coverage. They also have world-class quality care at world-competitive prices. And in a week when White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is meeting behind closed doors with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Singapore’s example might have something to teach them about the kind of reform Americans really need.

    “When I’m asked to describe the differences between the U.S. and Singapore systems, my one-word answer is ‘complexity,'” says Dr. Jason Yap, director of marketing for Raffles Hospital, a leading private care facility in downtown Singapore. “There are so many parties in the American system that do not really contribute to care.”

    Dr. Yap is referring to the higher costs that come from an American system that depends on regulation and oversight to accomplish what Singapore tries to do with competition and choice. At the Raffles lounge for international patients, he shows me an example of the latter. It’s a one-page, easy-to-read list of fees.

    At the high end of accommodation, a patient can choose the Raffles/Victory suite for about $1,438 per night. That price includes a 24-hour private nurse, a refrigerator stocked with drinks, and an adjoining living room to entertain. At the other end of the scale, a bed in a six-person room goes for just $99.

    As Dr. Yap points out, the actual care is the same whether a patient decides to stay in a deluxe suite or a dormitory-style room. But the choice is the patient’s; the financial incentives encourage the patient to think about those choices; and the low-priced options help keep the overall costs down.


    1. That’s all well and good, but the opportunity for graft and political empire-building are so minimal here that it’s impossible to say this is a viable model for the Chicago machine that has assumed power here.

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

    According to Michael Moore, it’s capitalism.

  20. In America, the politicians bribe you.

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