‘Doc Fix’ Fails in Senate, 47-53

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Oct 21, 2009 5:16pm

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: The $245 billion over ten years “Doc Fix,” which would have paused a cut in payments to Medicare doctors, was defeated with bipartisan opposition, 47-53 at 14:52. The bill would have reset a 21 percent pay cut for Medicare doctors originally created by a 1997 formula for Medicare solvency. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters today that was told by supporters of the bill that as many as 27 Republicans would vote for the “Doc Fix”. But none did. And 13 budget hawk Democrats voted against it too. “(Americans) want us to live within our means so their children and grandchildren don’t wake up one morning to find the American Dream buried under an avalanche of debt,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader. This does not mean that McConnell – or any lawmakers, really – want to ask Medicare doctors to take less money. Many of the people crying about the $245 billion over ten years in debt created by the Doc Fix will ultimately vote for a shorter fix financed with spending cuts elsewhere. It is unclear when that shorter fix will be offered. The Senate Finance Committee includes a one year fix that would cost $10.9 billion, but is paid for within the bill. The real question now is how will Doctors, with Republicans and a few Democrats voting against repealing their pay cut, react to the final health reform bill being crafted behind doors by Reid and the White House.

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