The Club signed a coalition letter with 19 other groups urging the Senate to vote down the “doc fix” bill. To learn the details about the bill, the letter is below the break.

And if anybody thinks this isn’t a bribe by the Democrats to get doctors on board their nationalized health care scheme, there’s this report in The Hill [emphasis mine]:

At a meeting on Capitol Hill last week with nearly a dozen doctors groups, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate would take up separate legislation to halt scheduled Medicare cuts in doctor payments over the next 10 years. In return, Reid made it clear that he expected their support for the broader healthcare bill, according to four sources in the meeting.

[…]”They said they’re going to need our help in getting healthcare reform over the goal line and they expect our support,” said a participant who represents doctors. “Reid, Baucus and Dodd. All three said the same thing: They want and expect our support.

[…]Reid also asked that doctors ease up on demands for medical malpractice reform during the upcoming healthcare debate. Democrats have traditionally resisted calls for tort reform, which trial attorneys – a reliable base group – staunchly oppose.

RedState’s Erick Erickson adds, “This week the Senate is considering its next payoff to a powerful lobbying group.”

And Heritage’s Conn Carroll shares this ominous thought:

After thousands of Americans attended hundreds of townhalls this summer, after the President of the United States delivered a rare speech to a Joint Session of Congress, after endless coverage of legislative markups in the relevant congressional committees, what if the Senate began actual floor votes on the health care overhaul and the drive-by media refused to cover it? Couldn’t happen? It already is.

October 19, 2009

An Open Letter to the United States Senate:
Don’t Deceive Taxpayers by Hiding Health Care Reform Costs!
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

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

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)