KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Dems Unveil ‘Manager’s Amendment,’ Set Stage For Saturday Floor Vote

The House "is moving toward" a floor vote for the health care overhaul on Saturday "after Democratic leaders worked to nail down votes from some of their members who want stronger anti-abortion language in the bill," CQPolitics reports. "House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise M. Slaughter said Wednesday that the rule for considering the sweeping health care legislation will encompass anti-abortion language put forward by Brad Ellsworth , D-Ind." The House vote is expected Saturday evening at 6 p.m. "The Rules Committee would have to meet 24 hours before the debate to prepare the bill for floor action, but Slaughter declined to say exactly when Rules would meet" (11/4).

The Associated Press: House Democrats cleared the way for this "pivotal vote" after "tweaking their 1,990-page bill to crack down harder on insurance companies." According to The AP, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Americans are ready for comprehensive reform in a statement accompanying dozens of last-minutes changes to the 10-year, $1.2 trillion bill." (11/4).

Modern Health Care: The document is also known as a "manager's amendment." Pelosi said some of the "key improvements" to the bill include "providing $1 billion in new resources to states to rein in 'price gouging' by insurance companies, and expanding on a provision that would remove insurance companies' anti-trust exemption." Meanwhile, "a yet-to-be resolved issue on abortion that has held up proceedings on the bill did not appear to be addressed in the manager's amendment. Democrats have been grappling with language to ensure that federal funds would not be used for abortion" (Lubell, 11/4).
Kaiser Health News has posted the text of the "manager's amendment" (11/4).

The Wall Street Journal: "The amendment includes a provision to raise $24 billion by shutting down a biofuels tax credit that some pulp and paper companies wanted to claim. The provision from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) helps fill a revenue hole to keep the bill deficit-neutral in the first 10 years" (Yoest and Vaughan, 11/4).

The Hill adds more detail on the "not so anticipated section on biofuel credits" found among a whole slew of more expected, and more health care oriented, amendments. "Fourteen pages into [the] amendment package... is a proposal that would restrict paper producers from claiming their share of a $1.01-per-gallon biofuel tax credit. The effort -- derived from a bill first introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen's (D-Md.) -- could save the United States about $24 billion over 10 years, according to his office." The idea is that these funds could help off set some of the costs generated by the Democrats' sweeping health overhaul proposal. But the provision "might infuriate congressional Republicans, who have fought their own battle with amendments this year. Although GOPers have charged Democrats with ignoring their proposed revisions, majority party leaders have routinely responded that they would consider those amendments if only they were germane to the legislation at hand" (Romm, 11/4).

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