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 BoozmanTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Senators launch broadband caucus A GMO labeling law that doesn’t require English? No thanks! MORE (Ark.), Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyDavid Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Boeing tells lawmakers sale of planes to Iran well-known part of nuclear agreement The Trail 2016: Post-Orlando maneuvers MORE Jr. (La.), Michael BurgessMichael BurgessGoonies, Pokemon and ‘transsexual shake’ speak to raucous scene at convention FDA to finalize rules on lab tests over GOP opposition Lawmakers: Smartphone health apps need to be smarter 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 FlemingDavid Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Former KKK leader David Duke running for Senate Overnight Finance: Senate punts on Zika funding | House panel clears final spending bill | Biz groups press Treasury on tax rules | Obama trade rep confident Pacific deal passes this year 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 CantorThree strategies to help Clinton build 'Team of Teams' David Brat may run for Senate if Kaine becomes VP The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.