'Doc fix' no longer up for cloture on Monday

Senate Democrats have decided to postpone Monday's scheduled cloture vote on a bill that would reform how Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals.

Initially, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) scheduled his motion to end floor debate and bring the so-called 'doc fix bill' to a final vote at the beginning of next week. But the leader reportedly changed his mind on Friday, deciding instead to he would vitiate Monday's vote so both parties' lawmakers could broker an agreement on a few remaining amendments, his office said Sunday.

Reid's office did not specify what those amendments might be, but Republicans have previously suggested they hoped to add pay-fors to the Democrats' bill in an attempt to reduce its $248-billion footprint.

"I think virtually all of my members are in favor of fixing this reimbursement problem, but we think there are ways to pay for it," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week. "And when it comes up in the Senate, we're going to offer amendments that will give us an opportunity to pay for an adjustment that most of us think ought to be -- ought to be done.

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Democrats' 'doc fix' bill has recently hit a few political speed bumps. While most lawmakers agree they should take some action to prevent reductions in Medicare reimbursement payments to doctors and hospitals -- an issue they tackle every year -- there is serious disagreement over the feasibility of Reid and Sen. Debbie Stabenow's (D-Mich.) reform bill.

Their effort -- which would set reimbursement rates for a longer period of time -- has worried some Republicans, who cite its lack of revenue offsets as a premier reason to oppose it. Some doctors' groups also fear the bill needs additional work to ensure its provisions do not inadvertently affect physicians' care.

Nevertheless, it is unclear when Democrats will attempt cloture next, but it could be as soon as later this week.

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