House Democrats are pushing hard to get the health-care bill passed, and to help it along they want to give doctors $245 billion to ensure political support. So wouldn't this addition cause the bill to no longer be budget neutral? Not according to White House budget director Peter Orszag who said its "already baked" into the budget.
"It so happens they added that to this piece of legislation, but that's sort of already baked into our fiscal trajectory," White House budget director Peter Orszag said last weekend on "Fox News Sunday."
Their only-in-Washington reasoning is that they already decided to exempt it from congressional "pay-as-you-go" rules that require new programs to be paid for. In other words, it doesn't have to be paid for because they decided it doesn't have to be paid for.
The administration also says that since Obama already included the so-called "doc fix" in his 10-year budget proposal, it doesn't have to be counted again in the health overhaul bill.
The issue is providing ammunition for Republicans, who are accusing Obama of breaking his deficit-neutrality promise. And health experts scoff at the Democrats' fuzzy math.