Saturday, August 01, 2009

Update on health care reform

This update came from the American Thoracic Society. It's a good summary and I know many of you are following this issue.

House Committee Reaches Agreement on Health Reform Overhaul

After over a week of wrangling, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Waxman (D-CA), reached a deal today with committee conservative Democrats, known as Blue Dogs, and the committee's more liberal members. The agreement should allow the committee to pass the bill today, sending it to a floor vote when the House returns from summer recess in September. The committee appears to have reached consensus on provider payment rates under the public health insurance plan and subsidies to help low-income families buy health insurance. Full details of the compromise have not yet been released, but the deal brokered today is said to give healthcare providers the ability to negotiate payments with the government under the public insurance option, rather than set payment rates at Medicare rates plus 5 percent. This was an issue of concern for the ATS and other healthcare provider organizations.Meanwhile in the Senate, the Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Baucus (D-MT), has not reached agreement on its version of the health system reform bill. Sen. Baucus has said that the committee needs more time to reach an agreement and will work on the bill over the Senate's recess, expected to begin August 7. The ATS will provide more information and analysis of the House Energy and Commerce healthcare reform bill as details become available.

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