This Week In Health Insurance Reform

This Week In Health Insurance Reform

January 27, 2010

This Week in Health Reform–Federal Legislative Overview

House and Senate
Republican Scott Brown’s victory over Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) in the January 19 special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D) is proving to be a game-changer for the health care reform debate.  It is now unclear what Democrats can do to pass President Obama’s most important legislative agenda item.  Even though the Democrats held a majority in the House and Senate this year, they failed to coalesce around a strategy to pass this legislation.  Initially after Brown’s win, there were two options under discussion for moving forward on the current legislation.

Have the House take up the Senate-passed bill and use the “reconciliation” bill process to “fix” several of the provisions the House finds unacceptable (e.g., the “Cadillac” tax, etc.).  If the House passes the Senate bill, it will go directly to the President for his signature, with no further action needed in the Senate.  A “reconciliation” bill, which would need only 51 votes in the Senate, could be passed either in tandem with the Senate bill or follow soon after.
Scale back the health care reform bill. A scaled-back bill could include health insurance reforms, exchanges, as well as several other provisions and possibly could attract bipartisan

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