By Molly K. Hooper - 11/19/09 06:11 PM EST
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.
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 BoozmanPoll: Trump up 23 on Clinton in Ark. GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election In denouncing Trump's misogyny, Republicans show their sexism MORE (Ark.), Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyDavid Duke gets debate slot in La. Senate race The Trail 2016: Trump’s new enemy Prostitution fight tightens Louisiana Senate race MORE Jr. (La.), Michael BurgessMichael BurgessGOP: Obama ‘in denial’ about healthcare law failures Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee pursues an active agenda Lawmakers press concerns over fuel efficiency rules 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 FlemingClub for Growth: Anti-Trump spending proved to be 'good call' David Duke gets debate slot in La. Senate race Prostitution fight tightens Louisiana Senate race 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 CantorVA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat High anxiety for GOP Webb: Broken trust, broken party 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.