Doc Fix | Disputed Democratic memo about health care reform

U.S. Congress building

The doc fix has been a sticking point in Congressional negotiations about health care reform.

Earlier this morning, it was reported that “unnamed sources” on capitol hill revealed a supposedly “secret” memo instructing Democratic members of congress to not discuss the “doc fix” action that was allegedly under discussion. So what exactly is “doc fix”? Has this memo’s authenticity been confirmed, and will the doc fix mean that Congress will need to go to payday lenders to pay for health care reform?

What is the doc fix?

The “doc fix” or “doctor fix” first came onto the scene of health care reform in October of last year. As Thehill.com1 reported, the doc fix originally came out of negotiations with the American Medical Association. The maneuver would “fix” payments to doctors at a single level or increase them over 10 years.

In 1997, a law was passed that mandated the payments Medicare makes to doctors be cut every year. The doc fix did not pass the Senate in 2009, though it has been suggested that the Democratic party made a deal with the AMA that the doc fix would eventually be passed; in exchange, the AMA supposedly threw its support behind the health care reform bill. The doc fix has been estimated to cost several trillion dollars over 10 years.

What is the controversy over the doc fix?

The doc fix has found itself in a firestorm of controversy today because of the leaked memo2 that supposedly instructs Democratic members of congress to not discuss the Congressional Budget Office estimates of the cost of the doc fix. The disputed memo outlines that the doc fix, which has been removed from the main body of the health care reform bill, would “undermine the reform’s budget neutrality”. In short, if doc fix passed, the government would need to find quick cash to pay for it.

Is the Doc Fix memo real?

When originally reported3 about the memo, it was assumed to be authentic. However, Democratic members of Congress and their staff members have strongly disputed the authenticity of the memo. has removed the original post4 until they “can absolutely verify the document’s origin. On Talking Points Memo5, democratic aides across Capitol Hill have claimed that the memo was never distributed and has never been seen before. Another aide points out that the “draft” stamp proves the fact the memo is fake, as “no one uses such things.”

  2. leaked memo
  3. originally reported
  4. removed the original post
  5. Talking Points Memo