House Democrats Develop Wish List For Final Reform Package, Return To The White HouseRoll Call: "Heading into a key White House meeting this afternoon, House leaders are eyeing several items that they would like in a final health care reform deal with the Senate, but it's not clear whether their wish list will have much of an impact in the face of threats from conservative Senators to withdraw their support for the bill."
The elements they hope will survive the process include provisions to provide greater subsidies for the middle class, a national -- rather than state-based -- health insurance exchange, a "shift of the tax burden to the wealthy" and language to remove "the antitrust exemption enjoyed by insurance companies" (Dennis, 1/6).
The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: "Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) vowed Tuesday that a provision in the Senate's healthcare bill exempting Nebraska from additional Medicaid payments would be eliminated." Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., "secured $100 million in funds to pay for its additional obligations to Medicaid" as a result of an agreement reached the Senate Democratic leadership in late December. "Brown said that lawmakers would repeal the controversial measure before the new Medicaid obligations go into effect in 2016, the (Toledo) Blade reported." Vermont and Massachusetts also get Medicaid assistance for their states in the Senate bill. "The provision for the three states was said by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $1.2 billion over the next 10 years" (O'Brien, 1/6).
Meanwhile, according to Politico, Republicans continue criticizing Democrats on how they plan to proceed with effort to merge the House- and Senate-passed bills. "'Let's be clear,' House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a news release. 'Skipping a real, open conference would shut out the American people and break one of President Obama's signature campaign promises' Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is ratcheting up the pressure in his chamber, circulating a letter to be sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that urges the live C-SPAN broadcast. The letter currently has 23 co-signers" (Sherman, 1/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.