House Republicans, Disputatious Democrats Discuss Health Reform BillsThe Hill reports that "three dozen" House Republicans were invited, for the first time since the health reform debate started, to talk with top-level Democrats: "'The bottom line is, [Democrats are] going to do what they are going to do. I guess they just don't want to look like they didn't (sit down); it's more of a dog and pony show,' Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) told The Hill as he walked out of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) meeting with Sebelius." Others said they'll continue to press for a meeting with President Barack Obama. (Hooper, 10/7).
Roll Call: RSC Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) told Roll Call that Sebelius "addressed many of the concerns Republicans have about the shape of the leading House and Senate reform plans. 'I think it was a candid exchange,' Price said. RSC members 'highlighted virtually all the major concerns that we have with both the process and policy that [Democrats] put forward'" (Kucinich, 10/7).
In a second story, Roll Call reports about a potential showdown brewing between the House Democratic leadership and that party's centrists. "Moderates are still trying to plot their strategy but are feeling a new sense of urgency to try to stop Pelosi from bringing a bill to the floor that fails to rein in health care spending and bloats the deficit. Those lawmakers want to act now to rework the bill rather than face a scramble after a tough review from budget scorekeepers." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's spokesman said everyone in the Caucus shares the cost concerns (Newmyer and Dennis, 10/8).
CQ Politics reports that "Democratic allies of organized labor in the House" have problems with the Senate Finance bill's provision to tax "Cadillac" health plans. "Warning at a press conference that the Senate Finance Committee proposal is a 'non-starter,' Rep. Joe Courtney , D-Conn., sent a letter signed by 157 House Democrats, including several senior members of the Ways and Means Committee, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., urging her to reject excise tax proposals" (10/7).
Still, the bill in the House moves forward, CBS News reports. House Majority Leader Steny "Hoyer said 'we expect in the coming weeks to put a bill on the floor that will garner a majority of support of the Congress of the House of Representatives and pass that bill.'" (Jackson, 10/7).
Finally, CongressDaily reports that several lawmakers are trying make sure the final bill will allow parents to keep coverage for their children up to age 26. "They are arguing that the extension of benefits for dependents would keep young adults from falling through the cracks of the health insurance system during the transition from school into entry-level jobs that often do not offer health coverage. If approved, the provision may be good news for about 8 million federal workers and their family members who have health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which caps dependent coverage at age 22" (Dann, 10/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.