Only Republican to vote for 'doc fix' explains vote as 'symbolic'

Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas), the only Republican to vote for the Medicare "doc fix" bill that passed the House today, explained his vote as a "symbolic" gesture to show commitment to doctors.

Burgess, who is an OB-GYN by training, said that he bucked his party because he does not believe the bill will pass the Senate.

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"I think it is very unlikely that today’s bill will ever become law, since the Senate has already soundly rejected a similar plan," he said in a statement. "Because of this, today’s vote is largely symbolic, and with my 'yes' vote, I stand committed to America’s doctors, the millions of seniors they care for, and TRICARE recipients, to fix this problem."

The bill passed the House 243-183. 11 Democrats joined 172 Republican in voting against the bill. The $210 billion measure would prevent cuts in the Medicare payment rate to doctors over the next decade.

Burgess eschewed intense lobbying on behalf of his GOP colleagues who sought to unanimously oppose the measure.

The Senate failed to motion for cloture on the bill in October. 12 centrist Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the bill. 

Burgess did criticize the measure, saying he does not "think it is right to continue to pass massive spending bills that add to our country’s record deficit with no rational payment plan in place." 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday pledged to defeat the "doc fix" bill if and when the Senate considers it again. 

Cross-posted to the Twitter Room