Obama faults Senate Republicans for blocking 'doc fix'

President Barack Obama on Saturday blamed Senate Republicans for blocking legislation that would help doctors by preventing cuts in their Medicare payments.

The president said that without congressional action, the cuts "could lead seniors to lose their doctors."

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In his weekly address, Obama said the so-called "doc fix" has been approved by Congress when it was under both Democratic and Republican control. Democrats are looking to prevent a 21 percent cut in payments as part of a broader tax and spending package.

"Some Senate Republicans may even block a vote on this issue," Obama said. "After years of voting to defer these cuts, the other party is now willing to walk away from the needs of our doctors and our seniors."

Obama said there is a majority in Congress willing to prevent the cuts, but criticized Senate Republicans for standing in the way of the bill's passage.


"This week, doctors will start receiving these lower reimbursements from the Medicare program. That could lead them to stop participating in the Medicare program. And that could lead seniors to lose their doctors," Obama said.
The Senate is set on Monday to take up the broader package that includes the Medicare payment fix. Republicans have raised concerns that the package would add to the deficit and debt.

"Even in the face of public outrage, Democrats are showing either that they just don't get it on this issue of the debt, or that they just don't care," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

This story was updated at 9:05 a.m.