Unions Run Newspaper Ad To Criticize Finance Committee Bill
Unions largely oppose the bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday.
The Associated Press/Arizona Central reports: "About 30 unions will run a full-page ad in newspapers Wednesday announcing their opposition to the Senate Finance Committee's health overhaul bill, a top labor lobbyist said. The ad will state that unions will oppose the measure on the Senate floor unless improvements are made, according to Chuck Loveless, legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees" (10/13).
A Reuters Blog reports: "The labor organizations say in their ad that 'a public health insurance plan option is essential to reform.' ... A measure passed earlier by the Senate Health panel does include a public insurance option - and the two bills will have to be merged. So there's no telling what the final version is going to look like" (Allen, 10/13).
Bloomberg reports: "Unions helped elect President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress, and have made overhauling the health-care system a top priority. They oppose elements of the bill approved by the Senate committee, including a tax on the most-expensive insurance plans. Some union contracts provide health benefits costly enough to be affected. ... The measure would impose a 40 percent excise tax on insurers of employer-sponsored health plans with benefits exceeding $8,000 for individual coverage and $21,000 for families" (Rosenkrantz, 10/14).
The Hill: "The completion of committee work on landmark healthcare legislation has spurred a torrent of spending and activity by interest groups seeking to influence the upcoming Senate floor debate." In addition to labor unions, "business organizations and conservative and liberal advocacy groups have timed advertising and grassroots campaigns to coincide with the Senate Finance Committee's 14-9 vote that approved the bill."
"MoveOn.org, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) all have launched advertising assaults in recent days. ... Liberal groups want the final bill to resemble the [Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee] measure more closely. Conservative groups view the bills as hopelessly flawed and hope to kill the legislation altogether" (Bolton, 10/14).
Roll Call reports on another interest that is working hard to make its positions known: "The generic drug industry, outmanned and outspent on the lobbying front compared to its name-brand counterparts, has been struggling to be heard on Capitol Hill throughout the health care debate. ... The generic industry will be zeroing in on provisions adapted by key committees in both chambers that would shut it out of the biologic drug market for at least 12 years" (Roth, 10/14).
And ABC News reports on reaction by the centrist group the National Coalition on Health Care that said the "measure still doesn't do enough to control costs. ... The coalition represents a broad cross-section of labor, business, religious, medical and education interests" (Klein, 10/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.