What's in Play for Health Care Reform
Get a look at the makeup of the two health care proposals
Much has been debated across the country about the health care reform legislation being considered in the U.S. Congress. Details of what could be closer to the final health care package may lie in the efforts of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee, has worked hard to put together a bipartisan health care reform bill. The Senate Finance Committee team - a "Gang of Six" - includes Baucus and Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Charles "Chuck" Grassley, R-Iowa; Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; and Michael "Mike" Enzi, R-Wyo.
Baucus and the leadership of the Senate established a Sept. 15 deadline to work out a bipartisan health care reform bill.
We have two bills already in play for the fall debate. First, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, on July 31. The House bill includes:
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved its legislation July 15. The HELP Committee passed its bill along partisan lines, similar to the House committee. The Senate bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act, includes:
The House has not scheduled a vote on the floor as of yet. The Senate HELP legislation will not move until the Senate Finance Committee has completed its work.
If the Senate Finance Committee fails in its attempt at bipartisan legislation, the House and Senate democratic leaders may move to attach the health care reform language to a budget reconciliation package. If this occurs, only a simple majority of the Senate is necessary.
The Senate Finance Committee proposal most likely will exclude the government-run insurance program as well as the employer mandate. Yet to be determined
One of the "Gang of Six," Conrad, has proposed delivering health care coverage to the uninsured through cooperatives, similar to rural electric cooperatives. This would allow government involvement but still maintain some degree of private sector presence.
Another member of the "Gang of Six," Enzi, commented on where the health care debate is today. He said, "We need to get a bill that 75 or 80 senators can support. Unfortunately, some are determined to jam a bill through Congress that the American people do not want. The bill the majority leadership wants will drive up costs, deny patients access to their doctors and generally make health care in this country worse. This doesn't have to happen. The majority can choose to listen to what the American people are saying and let us take the time to get it right."
To view the House and Senate legislative proposals, please go to the Automotive Service Association's (ASA's) legislative Web site, www.TakingtheHill.com.
Once the Senate Finance Committee proposal is finalized, ASA will make this available via www.TakingTheHill.com.
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