July 29, 2009
Health Reform Update: House Reaches Compromise, Plans to Vote in September
ASA has learned that House Democrats have reached a compromise on health care reform legislation. We are still awaiting the release of new legislative language, and will provide additional information once it becomes available.
Previously, both the House Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees had considered and passed H.R. 3200. However, the bill’s progression through the third committee, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had been slowed and ultimately halted by fierce opposition from the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative House Democrats. The Blue Dogs had opposed a number of provisions of H.R. 3200, the “America’s Health Choices Act,” and had been working with key lawmakers to change the legislation. One key element of their opposition was a public plan linked to Medicare rates.
ASA is pleased that early reports indicate that in the recently announced compromise legislation, the public plan option has been delinked from Medicare payment rates. The proposed compromise appears to permit physicians and hospitals to negotiate with the public plan and also “[P]rovides additional level playing field requirements for the public plan.” ASA has consistently lobbied against a public plan based upon Medicare payment rates.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced it will continue marking up health reform legislation beginning tomorrow. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have said that they intend to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote in September.
Progress in the Senate Finance Committee still remains tentative. It is still possible that the Committee could mark up legislation next week, but the entire Senate, like the House, will not vote on health reform legislation until after the August congressional recess.
Please bookmark the ASA health reform webpage and check often for updates.
Pelosi and Hoyer statement on progress of health reform legislation