Finance Bill Forces Hands On Health Reform
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., worked Monday to secure support from his Democratic colleagues on the panel before taking his latest health reform proposal into mark-up on Tuesday, Roll Call reports. He's making adjustments to relieve their concerns about whether the proposal would be affordable to low- to moderate-income families, and those Democrats appear to be warming to the plan (Drucker, 9/22).
Now that the proposal is in the open, "[a]fter months of private negotiations and cryptic public statements, senators are beginning to show their hands on health care reform," Politico reports. Although liberals and conservatives are both heartened by certain aspects of the plan, considerable disagreement remains. For instance, liberals want to extend subsidies to buy insurance to people at higher income levels, while Sen. Charles Grassley, D-Iowa, wants to cap them at 3 times the federal poverty line (Brown, 9/22).
With so much focus on Baucus' committee, House Democrats prepared to "use the breathing room to resolve outstanding issues holding up their own reform push," such as the public option, Roll Call reports in a second story. But, the House lawmakers are also waiting to see how other aspects of the Finance debate unfold this week. For instance, one conservative Blue Dog Democrat is sitting on a proposal for a co-op to replace the public plan in the House until after the Senate panel debates the topic (Newmyer, 9/22).
Meanwhile, Modern Healthcare reports on political reactions away from Capitol Hill and a particular legislative phenomenon: "If no one is happy with a piece of legislation, then you know you've crafted a good bill." The magazine points out that by this measure, Baucus' effort qualifies as "a very good bill" and notes that "almost immediately after its release, healthcare industry executives quickly found provisions within the 220-page measure that would affect the way they do business and how they're compensated. More than $227 billion in federal payments would be cut to restructure how different sectors are reimbursed" (DoBias, 9/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.