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Countdown To Health Care Reform

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, November 05, 2009 11:36 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Health Care Reform, Democrats, GOP, Pelosi, Tort Reform, Caps, Uninsured

Democrats are hoping for a Saturday vote on health care reform, the most sweeping in 40 years.

Dems Hoping For Saturday Vote

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IMAGE SOURCE: Washington post Web site/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( D-CA)

Democratic leaders could vote in the U.S. House as early as Saturday on the most sweeping overhaul of health care policy in 40 years.

At issue - how to extend medical coverage to at least 96 percent of Americans, require employers to insure their employees, bar insurance companies from dropping coverage for the sick, and establish some sort of government-run health insurance option to compete with private insurance companies.

All at a price tag of $1.2 trillion.

At the last minute party leaders filed a 42-page amendment making last minute changes to the bill. “We’re on the verge of doing something great,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi needs 218 votes for passage, though they are not claiming victory yet. Democrats control 258 of the 435 seats in the chamber.

In coup for House Democrats, the AARP plans to endorse the sweeping health care overhaul, with an announcement planned for Thursday morning. An AARP endorsement helped former President George W. Bush push through the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003 and Democrats are hoping it closes the deal on reform.

Mr. Obama will visit Capitol Hill on Friday just in case.

Under the bill:

  • Doctors and hospitals would negotiate the rates they’re paid under the public insurance plan, reports the Wall Street Journal. Private insurers would also have to negotiate their payment rates.

  • The measure includes subsidies to help people buy insurance and requiring all Americans to have coverage, keeping costs down for all. Government subsidies would be provided beginning in 2013 to extend coverage to millions who don’t have any. Those who are self-employed could buy coverage through the new exchanges either from private insurer or a new government plan.

  • Medicare would provide improved preventive benefit to seniors, while the “doughnut hole” prescription coverage gap would be gradually closed, reports the Chicago Tribune.

  • The House bill boosts taxes on upper-income earners.

  • The House bill would gain health insurance coverage for 36 million uninsured, covering 96 percent of eligible Americans.

The last change of this magnitude was the 1965 creation of Medicare for the elderly.

But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid cautions the bill may not pass this year as Senators wait for an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on legislation written by Reid and others.

Reid plans to include a government insurance option in the legislation he sends to the floor. He will need 60 votes for the proposal.

The GOP

Yesterday the GOP took a swipe at the Democratic version of health care with Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) comparing it to the Hillary Clinton plan of 1993.

“This 1,990 pages of beauocracy will centralize health care decision making in Washington DC, require thousands of new federal employees. It will put unelected boards bureaus and commissions in charge of who gets what drug and potentially lifesaving treatment,” said Boehner adding the plan will raise the cost of health insurance premiums, kill jobs and cut senior’s Medicare benefits.

It’s clear where the American people stand on this issue. They are frustrated and fed up. The stimulus bill is not working, unemployment is rising, the debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids is exploding, and now Speaker Pelosi’s 1990 page government takeover of health care? Enough is enough.”

Republicans will continue to stand on principal, he said in a prepared statement, broadcast by AP. No Republicans support the Democratic plan.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a preliminary analysis of the House Republican health plan late Wednesday, saying it would reduce the number of uninsured by three million, reports AP, compared to 36 million for the Democratic bill by the year 2019.

In a statement released Wednesday, Boehner’s office says the CBO confirms the GOP plan will lower health care premiums by up to 10 percent and reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years. #


3 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Michael Secrest
Saturday, November 07, 2009 12:15 AM EST

I whole heartedly support the public option and feel that only a single payer system, like Canada's, will heal our healthcare woes.

Anonymous User
Posted by Marian
Sunday, November 08, 2009 1:31 PM EST

I support a public option but I am not enthused with it being Medicare since Medicare has limitations that are not being discussed. However, an insurance is better than none. Some private insurerers offer more benifits like counseling, accupuncture, chiropractic and treatments medicare does not. People will still need private incurance becuase Medicare is limited in what it pays. I do not believe insurance companies are going to suffer when we have a public option.

Anonymous User
Posted by Marian
Sunday, November 08, 2009 1:31 PM EST

I support a public option but I am not enthused with it being Medicare since Medicare has limitations that are not being discussed. However, an insurance is better than none. Some private insurerers offer more benifits like counseling, accupuncture, chiropractic and treatments medicare does not. People will still need private incurance becuase Medicare is limited in what it pays. I do not believe insurance companies are going to suffer when we have a public option.

Comments for this article are closed.

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