Chamber Of Commerce Unleashes New Health Reform Ads; Other Stakeholders Express Strong Opinions
Roll Call: "Business groups are continuing their air war against the health care overhaul efforts as Congressional Democrats inch closer to crafting the final plan." The coalition is led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which released new TV spots Thursday. "The ad, which will play on national cable television channels for a week, warns of hidden taxes in the health care bill that will increase costs for consumers at the drugstore, at the hospital and in their paychecks." Officials declined to say how much the ads cost (Roth, 1/7).
The Associated Press: "Labor leaders, elected officials and progressives are urging President Barack Obama and Congress to make health insurance more affordable for low-income Americans." More than "750 religious leaders, elected officials and health care administrators from across the country" said in a letter to lawmakers and President Obama Thursday that the "House version of the health care bill covers more uninsured. They also said the bill sets premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels that low-income families could handle." The letter stopped short of endorsing either the House or Senate bill but urged that the "best of each" be included in the final version (1/7).
Politico's Live Pulse: Meanwhile, "[p]rogressives and patient rights groups slammed what they called a loophole in the Senate reform bill that would allow insurers and employers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for coverage." During a conference call with reporters organized by the progressive coalition Health Care for America Now, advocates explained that "[u]nder current law, employers can vary the rates they charge their employees by 20 percent, based on health factors. The wiggle room allows employers and insures to offer discounts to employees who take part in workplace wellness programs." The Senate bill would increase that amount to "30 percent and gives the administration discretion to go as high as t to 50 percent." The progressives maintain that this change would "allow employers to give discounts to healthier people while charging sicker people more the same practice reform is suppose to curtail" (Frates, 1/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.