Upton: Obama stalled on permanent 'doc fix'

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Upton made the remarks at a medical conference in Washington, D.C., where he vowed passage of a bill this year to repeal and replace the SGR.

Upton and his Ways and Means counterpart, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), recently unveiled a framework for SGR repeal and have promised to fast-track the effort.

The bill will come to the floor in July or early August, Upton told the American Medical Association on Wednesday.

During the healthcare debate of 2009 and 2010, the House Democrats' proposal initially included a permanent "doc fix." But Republicans forced them to withdraw the proposal because its costs weren't offset.

Some Democrats argue the "doc fix" does not need to be offset because it's not a traditional expense — Congress isn't actually spending more money each year on Medicare payments, it's simply keeping payments at the same level instead of implementing cuts called for in the law.

But that approach hasn't gotten much traction, and an Energy and Commerce aide who recently previewed Upton's latest push said permanent repeal would have to be paid for.

— Sam Baker contributed.

This post was updated at 10:12 a.m.

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