Democratic memo instructs staffers to mislead voters and media on “doctor fix”

Update: It’s a hoax, say Dems; Update: Stupak bloc to hold press conference

Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, a source in Washington DC sent me a scan of a memo that Democratic leadership has passed to staffers on the Hill instructing them how to handle the media and their bosses in the next 72 hours on ObamaCare. I confirmed it with another source on Capitol Hill a few minutes ago. The memo warns staffers to avoid discussing the mechanisms within the CBO analysis in order to mislead voters on their intentions for the “doctor fix” and how it will “undermine the reforms’ budget neutrality.”

I won’t transcribe it all (readers can download it here to read it in full), but I’ll highlight the relevant passage:

Second, most health staff are already aware that our health proposal does not contain a “doc fix.” Some Republicans have repeated CBO’s November 18th letter that says “the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism governing Medicare’s payments to physicians has been frequently modified (either through legislative or administrative action) to avoid reductions in those payments, and legislation to do so again is currently under consideration in Congress.” The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine the reform’s budget neutrality. So, again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered.

As most health staff knows, Leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians support for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand that we do not want that policy discussed at this time, lest I [sic] complicate the last critical push for health reform.

While I was tracking down the sourcing on this, Politico’s Chris Frates already reported on it:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.

Read the entire article at

Read also at CBO confirms: ObamaCare with ‘doctor fix’ will actually add billions to the deficit

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