McConnell vows to defeat 'doc fix' – again

If the House passes the so-called "doc fix" for healthcare, the Senate will reject it again, the top Senate Republican pledged Wednesday.

The House will vote this week on the doc fix, a $210 billion component of health reform that would forestall cuts in the Medicare payment rate to doctors over the next 10 years -- a measure which the Senate rejected earlier this fall.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this morning said that if and when Senate Democrats' bring it up again, the GOP will muster the votes to defeat it.

"Senate Democrats recently tried to pass a so-called doc fix that would have forced seniors to pay higher premiums — on top of the half a trillion dollars they want to cut from Medicare," McConnell said in a Senate floor speech. "Fortunately, this bill was rejected by a wide bipartisan majority."

"While we all think this problem needs to be addressed, this is not the way to do it," the GOP leader added. "And I’m confident that should a similar bill pass the House later this week, we’ll reject it again.”

The doc fix failed a cloture vote in the Senate in late October on a 47-53 vote in which 12 centrist Democrats voted with Republicans against the measure.

At the time, the doc fix vote in the Senate was seen as an initial test of party leaders' mettle on the health debate, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) having credited the defeat to vote miscalculation.