A House GOP lawmaker on Wednesday sounded open to the idea of using unspent war funds as a way to pay for a long-term fix to Medicare's contentious sustainable growth rate formula.
Earlier Wednesday, the House-Senate negotiating committee responsible for devising long-term solutions to a middle-class payroll tax holiday, unemployment insurance, the SGR, and extensions for certain Medicare programs met for the second time. Some committee members during and after the meeting highlighted an earlier-proposed idea of using potential spending reductions from Overseas Contingency Operations funds to pay for a long-term SGR fix. Those funds support national security operations such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, in which U.S. involvement is ending.
There was no estimate of how much money might be available from the OCO funds. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a 10-year fix of the physician-payment formula would cost $300 billion.