House Republicans expect strong vote against 'doc fix'

House Republicans anticipate a strong vote against the so-called "doc fix" bill on Thursday, when the House considers the measure that would increase doctor reimbursements provided under Medicare.

After calling an early-morning, closed-door meeting for GOP lawmakers to discuss the issue, leaders emerged confident that their conference would vote "no" on the doc fix.

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According to lawmakers at the conference meeting, a number of members in the GOP Doctors Caucus are struggling with whether to vote for the measure that would prevent a 21 percent decrease in physician reimbursement rates from going into effect in January.

At least one doctor, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), said he’s undecided.

As a deficit hawk, he told The Hill that it was difficult to fathom because the Democratic bill is not paid for and “goes against everything (he) stands for.”

But Roe, a longtime OB/GYN, says that without the temporary fix his former colleagues won’t be able to see as many patients.

This “is the hardest vote” that Roe, a freshman, has had to take in Congress, he said.

Not all members of the GOP Doctors Caucus — which includes Reps. John BoozmanJohn BoozmanGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase GOP to Obama: Sanction Chinese entities to get to North Korea Overnight Defense: White House threatens to veto Gitmo bill MORE (Ark.), Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyLouisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator The Trail 2016: TrumpCare Rep's wife dismisses prostitution allegations against husband MORE Jr. (La.), Michael BurgessMichael BurgessLawmakers press concerns over fuel efficiency rules Conservative committee wants House to vote first on funding bill Medicare grants doctors flexibility in new payment system MORE (Texas), Paul BrounPaul BrounCalifornia lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment Republican candidates run against ghost of John Boehner The Trail 2016: Let’s have another debate! MORE (Ga.), Bill Cassidy (La.), John FlemingJohn FlemingGOP grills IRS chief on impeachment Louisiana Republicans: This isn’t like Sandy GOP averts vote on impeaching IRS commissioner MORE (La.), Phil GingreyPhil GingreyBeating the drum on healthcare Former GOP chairman joins K Street Former Rep. Gingrey lands on K Street MORE (Ga.), John Linder (Ga.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Ron Paul (Texas), Tom Price (Ga.), Roe and Mike Simpson (Idaho) — are torn, however.

Gingrey announced that the bill would ultimately harm physicians; he predicted a “solid no” vote from members of his party.

Broun told reporters earlier in the day that all members in the conference would vote against the measure. GOP Whip Eric CantorEric CantorRyan seeks to avoid Boehner fate on omnibus GOPers fear trillion-dollar vote is inevitable Insiders dominate year of the outsider MORE (Va.) had to walk back that statement since Broun is not an official whip. Cantor said that he has a “strong sense” that his colleagues oppose the bill, but would not reveal a whip count.

Cantor cited an alternative that his party intends to offer during the debate Thursday afternoon: a version that would provide doctors with a 2 percent Medicare payment rate increase in each of the next four years. It would offset the costs of the increase by implementing tort reform and enacting health insurance simplification policies, according to a release produced by Cantor’s office.