Posts Tagged ‘Senate Finance Committee’
Just hours after the Senate Finance Committee completed its mark-up of its version of health care reform, Committee staff released a statement that announced, “[i]n a letter sent to Congressional leaders yesterday, Democratic governors affirmed their shared commitment to expanding health care coverage to millions of low-income Americans through the Medicaid program.”
The press release, however, overstates the case. The governors’ letter does not even mention Medicaid. The very general sentiments expressed in the governors letter such as “… the status quo is no longer an option …” and “[s]kyrocketing health care costs hurt families …” are broadly if not universally shared. Democratic governors from 21 states signed the letter, of which 8 will be out of office before the Medicaid expansion even begins. One Democratic governor who did not sign the letter, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen warns, “I can’t think of a worse time for this bill to be coming. I’d love to see it happen. But nobody’s going to put their state into bankruptcy or their education system in the tank for it.” (more…)
On Thursday, October 1, the Senate Finance Committee heard the last of amendments to the America’s Healthy Choices Act of 2009. Senators continued to hammer out the details of health policy, even as they continued to openly contradict many of the President’s high profile promises on health reform, including his promise to refrain from imposing more taxes on America’s middle class.
A State-Based Government Run Health Plan (Cantwell Amendment C15)
Following the failure of the Rockefeller and Schumer amendments to creates a national government run health plan to compete against private health plans, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced an amendment to create a state-run, federally-funded public health care plan that the states can choose whether or not to adopt. (more…)
Health Care News
President Barack Obama’s push for a sweeping health care overhaul edged closer to a major victory in the Senate Finance Committee. Early this week, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on final passage on the “Vapor Bill” being debated and marked up in Committee. The term “Vapor Bill” is used to describe the legislation, because the Senate Finance Committee has been debating the outline of a bill and not actual bill text in Committee. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) offered an amendment to allow a reading of the bill for 72 hours before final passage, so that members could read the bill they were voting upon, yet liberals in the committee blocked this amendment. We have mapped out one scenario for Senate consideration before, but we now have more details on the secret plan to pass Obamacare.
The Senate floor debate on health legislation could start as early as next week, but more likely they will consider Obamacare starting on October 13th. The Senate Finance Committee has been held up and will not have a final vote on the Committee bill until next Tuesday, therefore the Senate will have to wait another week before the debate starts.
Here is what we know. Sources on K Street and on Capitol Hill have confirmed the following scenario: (more…)
The White House put out talking points on Tuesday in an attempt to deflect the debate on the multitude of tax increases in the health care plan working through the Senate Finance Committee. These tax increases almost uniformly violate (again) the President’s plan not to raise taxes on middle-income Americans.
The White House asserts that fees on insurance companies, drugmakers, devicemakers, etc. won’t be passed on to consumers as a hidden tax. They offer three explanations.
“First, the fees are lump sum, not per unit, so you should not expect the manufacturers to pass them on”.
This argument does not pass the laugh test. Fees become costs and cost are passed on in higher prices. Apparently, the White House does not believe the accountants at these companies are capable of the simple calculation of spreading a fee over a number of devices or policyholders. And apparently the White House believes shareholders of these companies are willing to accept without reaction to the federal government digging deeper into wallets. (more…)
Health Care News
The Hill reports today that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has agreed to a 72-hour waiting period between posting a health care bill online and a final vote on the bill, conceding to Republican demands for three-day period to read a final bill.
House GOP members had introduced a petition requiring the wait time for lawmakers to read all bills, which some centrist Democrats had signed, the Hill reports. The article quotes a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) who doubted the promise. “House Democrats actually voted to post the trillion-dollar ‘simulus’ bill online for 48 hours before a vote and then broke that promise, so this should be taken with a large grain of salt,” said Michael Steel.
The Senate Finance Committee, which is in the midst of marking up Sen. Max Baucus’ “Chairman’s Mark” of his health care bill, defeated a similar amendment yesterday.
To ensure that the Senate would actually know what they were voting on, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) offered an amendment that would have required that actual legislative text, as well as a final Congressional Budget Office estimate of the cost of the bill, be posted for 72 hours on the Senate Finance Committee Web site for public review before the Senate Finance Committee could vote on its final passage.
The Bunning amendment was defeated on a largely party-line vote, with all Senate Democrats – except Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) – voting against it.
On September 23, 2009, the Senate Finance Committee continued its markup of the Baucus health bill, the “Chairman’s Mark,” of the America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009.
While fewer than ten amendments were voted on at the September 23rd mark up of the bill, there are still more than 500 filed. Senator Max Baucus (D-MO), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says he wants to complete the mark-up of the conceptual language (not the actual bill language) by the close of business on September 25th.
Senators made a number of key decisions concerning the deliberations on the bill itself and policy issues that would affect millions of Americans. Of note are four major Senate decisions: (more…)
Health Care News
“A formal cost estimate would require — we have said this to people on the House and Senate side — would really require two weeks of work by us, once a package is settled. And that may seem like a long time, but it — there are a lot of complications in doing this right, as you need it to be done and it is the interaction effects among the provisions, it is the reading and the legislative language,” — (September 22, 2009 at Senate Finance Committee hearing)
Health Care News
“We’re doing this all on the fly, so it’s a little bit, makes me a little bit nervous.” — (September 23, 2009 at Senate Finance Committee hearing)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has put forth a new “framework” for health care. This outline comes as the Finance Committee continues discussions on developing a health care bill.
Health Care News
According to today’s Washington Post, the Senate Finance Committee will soon produce a health care plan that rejects “a government-run health insurance plan in favor of a network of member-owned cooperatives.” More commonly referred to as “co-ops”, these organizations actually already have a long and proud tradition in many sectors of the U.S. economy, including health care. But Americans must be wary that our nation’s co-op tradition does not become a vehicle for government-run health care.
To some, the word “co-operative” may have a slight Bolshevik whiff to it, but actually a private co-op is nothing more than private individuals exercising their right to voluntarily self-associate. From farm bureaus to barn-raisers, private co-ops are part of American society. In the realm of health care, a group that organizes coverage provided by private insurers could be structured as a co-op. Or the health insurer itself could be a co-operative owned by its member policyholders. Those kind of insurance companies are called mutual insurers.
Understood in this manner, co-ops have far more to do with Edmund Burke and little platoons than with Leon Trotsky and manning the barricades. And they can be part of the health care solution.
But, don’t be fooled; Burkean little platoons are not what the Obama Administration and its allies in Congress have in mind. In liberal Washington today, leaders such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), are talking up co-ops that would be: (more…)
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