Industries Brace For Health Overhaul As Senate Nears Deal
Many companies and their lobbyists now believe the overhaul is inevitable and are hoping to ease changes that will affect their businesses.
The Wall Street Journal: "Companies are alarmed at potentially costly provisions in the Senate health-care bill, many of which they hope will be scrapped during a final round of negotiations early next year. A scramble to massage the hefty measure, instead of pushing to kill it, reflects the view of many in the business community that a sweeping remake of the U.S. health-care system now appears inevitable" (King, 12/23).
The Wall Street Journal: Meanwhile, according to a separate article, hospital and insurer's stocks "are enjoying a day in the sun this week, with traders breathing a sigh of relief that Washington's debate over an industry overhaul is nearing an end." After recovering more slowly from the recent slump than other parts of the economy, health stocks have risen in line with the market since senators appeared ready to pass their bill (McKay and Goldstein, 12/23).
The New York Times: The drug industry, however, is poised to accept bigger losses than previously anticipated to appease liberal lawmakers. Liberals were angry in August over a deal among drugmakers, the White House and Senate Finance committee to cap cuts to government drug spending to $80 billion over 10 years. The liberals sought unsuccessfully to extract further savings, but as lawmakers appear closer to a deal, the left has made so many concessions that lobbyists for drugmakers now anticipate they will have to renegotiate their agreement to the tune of an added $20 billion (Kirkpatrick, 12/22).
The Baltimore Sun: Doctors remain divided on the overhaul legislation. In Baltimore, for instance, "Dr. Zaneb Beams is doing everything she can to get Congress to approve health care legislation. Dr. F. Michael Gloth III is trying just as hard to kill it." Both are part of influential grassroots lobbies. Physicians have been successful in influencing the legislation, and were said to be instrumental in blocking a plan to allow people to buy in to Medicare (West, 12/23).
The Wall Street Journal: A recently added provision in the Senate health legislation has construction companies up in arms. The provision would require them to offer health coverage if they have five or more employees or payrolls over $250,000 while other companies could have up to 50 employees without facing the requirement (Wotapka and Fields, 12/23).