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Press Release

An Open Letter to the United States Senate

Click here for PDF.

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the millions of members represented by the undersigned groups, we urge you to oppose S. 1776, the “Medicare Physician Fairness Act,” and its appalling and dishonest attempt to mask the tremendous costs health care reform will impose upon American families and businesses. Considering the enormity and complexity of our health care system, the American people deserve honesty and transparency in a reform debate. This kind of legislative scheming fails to live up to the high standards to which this Congress claims to aspire.

Introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), S. 1776 would raise reimbursements for physicians through Medicare to the tune of $247 billion over 10 years. While this so-called “doc fix” has merit under the right circumstances as a means of preventing further erosion of physician participation in the Medicare program, this legislation contains no spending reductions elsewhere to offset its considerable cost. It would require that the Senate vote to waive its own budget rules, intended to protect taxpayers, and would represent a violation of “PAYGO” rules in the House as well. Perhaps more importantly, it serves as a deceptive measure to reduce the perceived cost of various plans for comprehensive health care overhaul

Earlier this month, one such piece of legislation introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) received a 10-year cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office of $829 billion. It achieved a score more than $200 billion lower than the $1.042 trillion plan drafted by the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in part by reducing physician reimbursements through Medicare. By engineering a $247 billion reversal of part of the Baucus bill in separate legislation, it is clear that some leaders in Congress had no intent of allowing those reductions to take effect.

If Congress seeks a “doc fix,” it should draft it into comprehensive health care reform legislation and allow it to be debated in proper context. Splitting higher reimbursements into a separate piece of legislation can only be an underhanded bait-and-switch attempt to deceive an American public that deserves better.


The Undersigned

Matt Kibbe

President and CEO



John Tillman


Illinois Policy Institute


Michelle D. Bernard

President and CEO

Independent Women’s Voice


Colin A. Hanna


Let Freedom Ring


Forest Thigpen


Mississippi Center for Public Policy


Jim Stergios

Executive Director

Pioneer Institute (MA)


John McCollister

Executive Director

Platte Institute for Economic Research (NE)


Duane Parde


National Taxpayers Union


Jim Martin


60 Plus Association


George Watson, D.O.


Association of American Physicians and Surgeons


Susan A. Carleson

Chairman, CEO, and Treasurer

The American Civil Rights Union


Laurence Socci


Americans for Conservative Values


Tim Phillips


Americans for Prosperity


Grover Norquist


Americans for Tax Reform


Sandra Fabry

Executive Director

Center for Fiscal Accountability


Chris Chocola


Club for Growth


Wendy Wright


Concerned Women for America


Rick Scott

Conservatives for Patients Rights


Brian McManus

Director of Federal Affairs

Council for Affordable Health Insurance


Thomas A. Schatz


Council for Citizens Against Government Waste