Senate Health Bill Relies On Government Regulation To Expand Coverage
Certain health reform policy issues are drawing attention from news organizations.
The Los Angeles Times: "When Senate Democratic leaders agreed this week to remove a public insurance plan from their massive healthcare bill, they did more than quash a liberal dream of expanding the government safety net. They effectively pinned their hopes of guaranteeing coverage to all Americans on a far more conventional prescription: government regulation. But the success of this approach may well depend on whether regulators have been given enough authority, a question that has received considerably less attention than the ideologically charged battle over a new government insurance plan" (Levey, 12/18).
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Christian Scientists are seeking a prayer provision in the Senate bill. "With time running short for Congress to pass a health care bill by Christmas, Christian Scientists are lobbying lawmakers to include a provision that would ban discrimination against 'religious and spiritual' health care and encourage private insurers to cover prayer as medical treatment. Such a provision was passed by committees in both the House and the Senate this year, but was stripped from the House bill as well as the current version being debated in the Senate. But Christian Scientists are hoping they can still get the measure reinserted into the Senate bill, and ultimately locked into the final legislation" (Colliver, 12/18).
Meanwhile, as both the Senate and House versions of the health bill prohibit insurers from denying people coverage because they have a pre-existing medical condition, NPR visited the people whose job it is to deny the claim: health underwriters (Blumberg and Joffe-Walt, 12/18).