Health Bill Survives House Committee Vote
Posted on Jul 31, 2009
The good news, at least for those hoping for progress on the health care reform front, is that the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the latest version of a bill aimed at revamping the nation’s flagging health care system. The bad news: Now that Congress is headed for a monthlong vacation, we’ll have a whole new round of squabbling to look forward to in September.
The Los Angeles Times:
To reach agreement, Waxman earlier this week had accepted conservative lawmakers’ demands to limit the bill’s price tag to $1 trillion over 10 years, exempt more small businesses from the employer-provided insurance mandate, and reduce the number of low-income people who would qualify for subsidized coverage.
But those changes provoked a backlash among liberals. To win them back, Waxman crafted a compromise that would restore low-income subsidies. The committee also added a major provision that would limit the premium increases that insurers could impose, and another that would let the government negotiate pharmaceutical prices under Medicare’s prescription drug program—a goal long sought by liberals as a way to reduce drug costs. (The idea was bitterly opposed by Republicans when the program was established in 2003, as critics questioned whether the government would secure discounts.)
The bill is designed to provide insurance for the 46 million people in the U.S. who now go without it; to curb healthcare costs; and to make it harder for companies to deny coverage or increase premiums.
AP / Susan Walsh
I’m just a bill ... : A copy of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, sits on the desk of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., after the markup on the health care bill was postponed Wednesday.