Democratic memo instructs staffers to mislead voters and media on “doctor fix”; Update: It’s a hoax, say Dems

posted at 1:37 pm on March 19, 2010 by 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.

Basically, this is an admission that the numbers the Democrats submitted to the CBO were entirely false, and that they plan to make this bill a deficit expander in the spring.  It’s a breathtaking admission of deceit and hypocrisy — and its exposure should have the media asking more questions about that CBO scoring and putting Democrats in the hot seat over it.

Update (AP): Memo? What memo?

“We have checked with every Democratic office, no one has ever seen it. It did not come out of a Democratic office,” the aide said, adding that media outlets printing the memo have not checked with leadership offices if the memo is authentic. A second Democratic leadership aide confirmed the memo was not sent by the Democrats. A third Democratic aide also said the memo is fake, citing the “draft” stamp and saying no one uses such things.

“If this were a Democratic communications person who wrote this, they should be fired, because this looks like Republican talking points,” the third Democratic aide told TPMDC.

The memo alleging the changes commonly known as a “doc fix” would be politically damaging to Democrats, who already are holding together a fragile coalition to get the needed 216 votes Sunday.

Update (Ed): When Politico went live with this article, I had confirmed with two people I know on the Hill that they had seen this being passed around.  Did it come from Democrats, or from Republicans?  I can’t answer that, but I did confirm with two sources that it exists.


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Well….whatever deal has been struck, if one has been struck, will make it go back to the Senate.

Nope… The Senate Bill will still get passed. They’re STILL GOING TO USE DEMON PASS. The deal will be in the reconciliation bill that goes back to the Senate… IF it goes back to the Senate. But once they pass the house bill, HCR is “the law of the land” and we cease living in a free country.

Skywise on March 19, 2010 at 5:53 PM

If this passes…

The Liberals will receive their “Holy Grail”

And the Constitution will be effectively worthless (due to the process it took to “pass” this bill)

They will Get Amnesty / Finance Reform / Energy Reform ALL passed before the next Congress REGARDLESS of the outcome of the elections

Health Care always was and is THE BATTLE and I fear the Constitution has lost.

LordMaximus on March 19, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Just a thought here. Earlier we commented on Nancys prayers to Saint Joseph, to help her affirm life, by keeping abortion in the bill.

Now she’s making a deal with Stupak, and pals to write new legislation to keep it from being a tax payer mandated issue?

On top of that, it sounds as if this separate legislation hinders on a promise from Reid? Could Stupak be that stupid to buy that? There’s a few puzzle pieces missing here, in my opinion.

capejasmine on March 19, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Some of you people are really pathetic. You sit there in front of your computer and whine and cry about how everything is lost, we are done, boo freakin’ hoo. Are you seriously just going to roll over and die? Why don’t you get off your ass and do something. This parade of drama llamas is really getting tiresome.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:02 PM

speed91

Screw that…you don’t know what people have done…I have called Ellsworth’s, Donnelly’s, and Hill’s offices all this week.

Not a whole lot you can do when you are BLATANTLY IGNORED by your own representatives

LordMaximus on March 19, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Speed911, I’ve been on the phone all afternoon, calling Representatives. If I may be so bold as to ask, what have you been doing?

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:05 PM

What I have been doing isn’t the issue, since I’m not sitting here crying about the demise of my country. If this bill passes, we have more work to do. If this bill doesn’t pass, we still have more work to do. Sitting here making dramatic comments like, “Our republic is dead,” does nothing to solve the problem and everything to appease someone’s sense of drama.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:09 PM

What I have been doing isn’t the issue…

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:09 PM

So, nothing, then. I thought so.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Why didn’t you at least call your Congressman?

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:12 PM

LOL! You are funny. When did I say I haven’t called my congresscritter? When did I say I have done nothing? I SAID what I have done isn’t the issue because I’m not making those defeatest statements. In addition, I didn’t single you out in my comment, which begs the question, why are you so touchy?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:14 PM

LOL! You are funny. When did I say I haven’t called my congresscritter? When did I say I have done nothing?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:14 PM

I asked you a simple question: “What did you do?”

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Smells like a blog story set-up to me.

AnninCA on March 19, 2010 at 6:16 PM

And I’m touchy because I’m p!$$ed off as hell, like everyone else around here. If you kick a hornet’s nest, expect to get stung.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Speed911, if you didn’t make any calls, you’re just as much of a weenie as the “drama llamas” you were attempting to call out.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:16 PM

In all honesty, what is the point in telling you everything I’ve done to help defeat this horrible bill. I can’t prove anything in this forum and you’ll likely claim I’m being dishonest. Why don’t we just stick to what’s been posted here? People have posted defeatest comments such as, “Our republic is dead,” and that annoys me. Do you have a problem with that?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:19 PM

In all honesty, what is the point in telling you everything I’ve done to help defeat this horrible bill. I can’t prove anything in this forum and you’ll likely claim I’m being dishonest.

You don’t have to answer the question.

Why don’t we just stick to what’s been posted here? People have posted defeatest comments such as, “Our republic is dead,” and that annoys me. Do you have a problem with that?

I don’t like it any better than you do — see my “*SLAP!*” comment to Notorious G.O.P. above.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Ok little miss mary. I have called and written my congressman. I have traveled to Sacramento and met with several people personally to discuss the issue. I am a member of several organizations that have one specific goal…… to protect the Constitution of the United States of America. I hand delivered a letter to Pelosi’s office in San Fran. I will continue to fight for this country as long as I am able. I’ve also done all of this while recovering from major surgery. Happy now?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:24 PM

I don’t give tw shinola’s for what Stupak or any other Democrat has said, promised, or otherwise written or voiced on this.

The Dems are going to pass this mess.

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Happy now?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:24 PM

About as “happy” as any of us here, I suspect…
But thank you for doing what you could. I hope you recover quickly. Good for you for having the surgery now while you still can.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:22 PM

I did see your slap. Again, I didn’t single you out in my comment. YOU are the one who jumped on ME for making it. If you agree, why start with the accusations that I’ve done nothing? Why question my credibility when you agree with me? Do you just enjoy the argument?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Do you just enjoy the argument?

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:26 PM

No, I’m just p!$$ed. Sorry for taking it out on you.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:27 PM

That’s partly why I asked our proprietors if they would pre-emptively ban our least favorite trolls. As angry as I am, I’m sure to say something over the line and get banned myself.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Another thing…

You know, it’s alright if people feel pissed off about this. If they are disappointed, frustrated, frazzled, angry, whatever and choose to vent said feelings in this forum.

Some people don’t like the taste of the shiite sandwich we’re being given and are justifiably upset and wish to comment on it.

Do we still have work to do? Sure. Is there more to do on this issue? Not that I can see from everything I’ve read and seen – so what’s so bad about a ‘time of mourning’?

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:33 PM

No, I’m just p!$$ed. Sorry for taking it out on you.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Apology accepted. We need to try our best to stay calm and focused for the forseeable future. Infighting won’t help our cause.

As for being lucky enough to have my surgery before the government take over, I agree. However I will require life-long follow-up care and I’m currently taking 23 different meds. My future doesn’t look bright under obamacare. I am fighting for my life.

Oh, and crr6 will NOT respond to me, no matter how hard I try. LMAO. Coward.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:34 PM

Here’s a bit of good news from the Stupak thread:

Heath Shuler (D-NC) just announced he will vote No.

Emperor Norton on March 19, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:34 PM

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:33 PM

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, and once she starts singing, someone will be there to shove a donut in her mouth to shut her up. These people are violating their oath of office to uphold the constitution. Recall every single one of them and impeach the president. Believe me, it’s in the works.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:36 PM

As for being lucky enough to have my surgery before the government take over, I agree. However I will require life-long follow-up care and I’m currently taking 23 different meds. My future doesn’t look bright under obamacare. I am fighting for my life.

Yikes! What did you have, a bone marrow transplant? You can tell me MYOB/FO if you like. ;-)

Oh, and crr6 will NOT respond to me, no matter how hard I try. LMAO. Coward.

That’s what the “c” stands for, I think. ;-)

And thank you for being so gracious and accepting my apology.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Close! I had a double lung transplant.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:36 PM

I don’t disagree with you. You’re absolutely right.

But on this issue, calling people pathetic for being disheartened is ridiculous.

I understand the sentiment, especially you’re particular situation. I have a twelve inch wound in my abdomen and a brand new colostomy installed. I too am glad my surgeries are taking place before Obamacare, but will have to deal with the aftermath just as you will.

That being said, I too and po’d like a lot of other people. Sometimes people need to vent so they can recharge, refill the tank to take on the next fight.

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Venting is good and productive and keeps people from throwing public fits when they are emotional. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is the defeatest mentality some people display over and over again. It’s pointless.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Close! I had a double lung transplant.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Oh my gosh! 8-O

I have a twelve inch wound in my abdomen and a brand new colostomy installed.

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

You two are wounded warriors, and no mistake! Please try not to let the stress interfere with your healing.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Close! I had a double lung transplant.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Traded my old ones in for a newer model. LOL!

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM

OBAMA’S HEALTH CARE SPEECH IN FAIRFAX:

“If the Washington Post’s report is correct, and 8,000 people turned out, the real news is that two days before the big health care vote, Obama couldn’t fill a 10,000 seat arena at a university with 30,000 students (albeit many part-time), in a state and county Obama won, with many of the seats undoubtedly taken up by Democratic activists from the D.C. area.”

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/

elduende on March 19, 2010 at 6:45 PM

I have a twelve inch wound in my abdomen and a brand new colostomy installed.

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Yep, that involves some pretty costly follow-up. I just got the bill for my last bronchoscopy, which I have to get every six months…..over $22,000.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Traded my old ones in for a newer model. LOL!

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Har! A friend of mine who has to take several different asthma meds occasionally makes jokes about his “coin-operated lungs.” ;-)

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM

That’s funny! LOL

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Boehner is requesting a roll call vote. Since it’s up to Nan’s discretion, though, I doubt it will happen.

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:49 PM

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Too bad I couldn’t trade in my lost plumbing new copper pipes like you did getting the ‘new model’ lungs! I’m better off though, the old ones almost killed me…

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

I was on asthma meds for YEARS, then found out I didn’t have asthma. Of course it was too late by then. I was on oxygen 24/7 and had to use a wheelchair. Now I’m up and running. No oxygen, we put the wheelchair in storage and my husband has worn out two pairs of shoes trying to keep up with me. :)

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:51 PM

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 6:50 PM

They are having a lot of success with transplants for people in your situation. However, the other things that go along with a transplant are probably worse than a colostomy. The drugs to stop rejection have a whole host of nasty side effects.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:53 PM

San Fran Nan won’t do anything she doesn’t want to do. She thinks she’s the king.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Ellsworth was part of the Stupak bloc. Why did he come out in favor of the bill tonight? If Stupak is having a press conference tomorrow to announce that he’s caving, why didn’t Ellsworth wait and stand with the bloc?

Could it be that Stupak ISN’T caving?

Oink on March 19, 2010 at 6:54 PM

All of these reports about people switching to a yes vote are questionable. If you call their offices, you’re told they are undecided, a definite no, waiting for assurances that changes will be made, still reading the bill…..I think most of this is just conjecture or pure propaganda.

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:57 PM

Did it come from Democrats, or from Republicans? I can’t answer that, but I did confirm with two sources that it exists.

Clearly it did not come from Republicans! The odds of Aliens bringing this document in on a UFO is more likely than a self-flagellating G.O.P. being responsible for this.

Buy Danish on March 19, 2010 at 7:02 PM

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Actually, having a colostomy ain’t so bad – now I can claim to be twice the a-hole of anyone else…

:)

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

No oxygen, we put the wheelchair in storage and my husband has worn out two pairs of shoes trying to keep up with me. :)

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:51 PM

That is wonderful!!!
With a life story like that, I can see why you get impatient with pessimists. ;-)
Keep healing, and keep fighting!

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 7:05 PM

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

ROFL!

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 7:06 PM

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

LMAO!

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Oh, and now I get your nic. You must have put 911 on speed dial, am I right?
I am really, really sorry I lost my temper upthread. I hang my head in shame. :-(

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 7:11 PM

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Bless your heart….and you too Catman. You’re added to my prayers!!!

capejasmine on March 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 7:11 PM

To be honest, I don’t remember my reasons for this nic. I was so exited when I came to hotair for my morning read and found registration open, I had a blackout. I think I stole this nic from my brother, but don’t tell him!

Don’t worry about the earlier snarkiness. I’m over it :)

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

capejasmine on March 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Thank you!

speed911 on March 19, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Thank you!

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Um, just wondering why people aren’t lying down in the halls of congress. You know if SS were being privatized, the lefties would do it. I seem to recall Coburn and DeMint at the December Code Red Rally saying they’d do whatever it takes including standing in traffic. Yeah, right.

Not suggesting that creates a good precedent or anything but where the heck is the civil disobedience? Phone calls are not going to cut it.

Firefly_76 on March 19, 2010 at 7:25 PM

“If this were a Democratic communications person who wrote this, they should be fired, because this looks like Republican talking points,” the third Democratic aide told TPMDC.

Doesn’t matter if it’s fake – if they still refuse to discuss the points that the “fake” memo says they should avoid discussing. Brilliant.

peski on March 19, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Tweet (from Reid thread): BREAKING: Stupak tells me – “There was no agreement and there’s no agreement until we see it in writing” #abortion #hcr

Wethal on March 19, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Teague is a “No”!

Mary in LA on March 19, 2010 at 8:15 PM

capejasmine on March 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Also a thanks!

catmman on March 19, 2010 at 8:28 PM

OK, where is the update on the Stupak conference?

Willie on March 19, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Finally! Someone has had the stones to come right out and say what many of us have been thinking.

I hope this is just the first call for treating Osama Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the traitorous thugs as they should — must — be treated.

The Constitution — not to mention too many jobs, too many lives and more money than the government can ever hope to repay — are at risk.

Come on, Limbaugh, Levin, Palin and the rest of the commenterati…time to grow some and put it on the line for America!

MrScribbler on March 19, 2010 at 9:14 PM

I think the Stupak update was supposed to be on the main Stupak story, other column…

Why does this memo sound any different than “I will work to ensure that we are able to vote on the public option in the coming months.” The Democrat Leaders are saying everything and anything to anyone for this bill to pass.

It is a perfect Obama-like bill. The Dem leaders are telling members of Congress that whatever they want will be reflected in the bill (or the reconcilliation or the next bill). Look into it and see your wishes fulfilled and your dreams come true… Blech!

This is awful seeing so many “smart” people fooled by devious liars.

Fallon on March 19, 2010 at 9:19 PM

The only thing those who pass this atrocity should get out of it is their arses served up to them on a platter.

Woody

woodcdi on March 19, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Come on, Limbaugh, Levin, Palin and the rest of the commenterati…time to grow some and put it on the line for America!

MrScribbler on March 19, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Uh, they’re the ones who got us here. They are the corruption enablers.

True_King on March 19, 2010 at 10:49 PM

Did ya hear Nancy Pelosi talking about it on Greta?? Sounded just like the memo… hmmm.

kringeesmom on March 19, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Stupak is gonna vote yes. He wants some re assurances in writing: he’s gonna get it. He’ll be a yes vote.

B Man on March 19, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Stupak is gonna vote yes. He wants some re assurances in writing: he’s gonna get it. He’ll be a yes vote.

B Man

There’s some kind of deal worked out with Stupak…

I’m stunned. There is a deal. Pelosi has sold out to Stupak. He will get his vote, at least if Pelosi gets her way. In what is now an incredible irony, conservatives’ hopes of killing Obamacare reside in the strength of the pro-choice caucus, which supposedly had 41 members who would vote no on Obamacare if Stupak got his way

The mechanics of how this would work are murky at best, with an attempt to speculate on how it would all go down here…looks like more unprecedented procedural mayhem, but hey, what’s a 220 year old Constitution among friends worth anyway…

Derailleur on March 19, 2010 at 11:52 PM

Why is anyone stunned.
All together folks:

BY. ANY. MEANS. NECESSARY!

Ya pro choice people will be pissed, but they’ll get their precious hc bill.

B Man on March 19, 2010 at 11:58 PM

Ya pro choice people will be pissed, but they’ll get their precious hc bill.

B Man on March 19, 2010 at 11:58 PM

Which will eventually have Government mandated (you heard me right!) abortions.

Pelayo on March 20, 2010 at 12:06 AM

imo, Stupak is being played.

But he’ll vote yes with a relieved smile on his face.

B Man on March 20, 2010 at 12:10 AM

I hope this thing goes down in flames.

I hope our President’s policy fails.

Pelosi 31% approval; tells me that only 31% of this country wants ObamaCare.

55% don’t want it … the unaccounted for are a bunch of stupid democrats too busy watching South Park and the Comedy Channel.

father on March 20, 2010 at 12:41 AM

davidk on March 19, 2010 at 5:36 PM

No. We have to participate in the political process, as sickening as that sounds with all that’s going on. Get involved in your local political scene and speak up calmly but firmly for what you know is right. There are enough of us that this can be effective in a big way. A coupla snowflakes can start an avalanche, after all, when the mountainside is ready to tumble.

The number of people who are “up to here” with the goings-on in D.C. right now is far greater than anything that you will see or hear through the MSM.

Courage and persistence are our best friends just about now.

Keep calling your Congresscritters, and keep writing calm, well-thought-out letters to the editor of your local newspaper.

You might be surprised at how many folks are on the side of freedom and opposed to this obscene power grab.

hillbillyjim on March 20, 2010 at 2:17 AM

Democrats, lie cheat and steal. But mostly just lie.

tarpon on March 20, 2010 at 8:13 AM

Democrats, lie cheat and steal. But mostly just lie.

tarpon on March 20, 2010 at 8:13 AM

It’s just how communists roll … they can’t help themselves. Which is why the party should be outlawed.

darwin on March 20, 2010 at 8:53 AM

It is very telling when the Memo fly in the middle of battle. It represents true loyalty and total consensus for a plan does not exist.

MSGTAS on March 20, 2010 at 10:29 AM

When Politico went live with this article, I had confirmed with two people I know on the Hill that they had seen this being passed around. Did it come from Democrats, or from Republicans? I can’t answer that, but I did confirm with two sources that it exists.

If “Fake but accurate” works for the libtards, then it works for me in killing this monstrosity. This is the real world consequence of “all’s fair in politics” or winning by any means necessary.

AH_C on March 20, 2010 at 4:11 PM

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