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Big Health Care Reform Decisions Await Reid

By The Hill, The Hill - October 29, 2009

The hoopla provoked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) decision to include a public option in healthcare reform has obscured the fact that major issues in the bill remain unsettled.Reid shifted the debate in the Senate by making major concessions to the liberals in his caucus and putting centrists on notice that a reckoning would come on the Senate floor on an issue that has divided the Democratic Party. But Reid's announcement did not resolve all the challenges facing the Senate's effort to make President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy initiative a reality.Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, said Wednesday that insurance affordability, a controversial excise tax on high-cost insurance plans, whether most employers will be required to offer health benefits, how to raise needed tax dollars and whether to create a federal long-term-care insurance program are the remaining issues."I'd say those and the public option are probably the [five] big ones. "¦ And all of those are going to have to be resolved,"� Schumer said. RELATED ARTICLES Clyburn disputes authenticity of health bill vote list From this point until the Senate floor debate begins sometime next month, the fate of some of those issues rests in the hands of Reid "” and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).Reid has been mum about how he would answer those questions.Although the public option has captured most of the attention in recent days, finding the right balance on these other issues will be critical to the success of the healthcare reform bill.Democratic senators nearly across the board are concerned that the bill could require most individuals to obtain health insurance but do too little to make sure they can afford it. But beefing up insurance subsidies would drive up the cost of the bill, which not only would threaten Obama's $900 billion spending cap but would unnerve centrist Democrats already worried that the bill does too little to constrain healthcare costs.Moreover, yielding to objections by labor unions and many Democratic lawmakers to the tax on high-cost insurance would reduce the amount of tax revenue the bill would generate, further limiting the legislation's reach. A coalition of Democrats has also demanded that a fee on medical device companies be eliminated, or at least scaled back.Reid is asking the CBO to evaluate different versions of key sections of the bill and will assemble a finished product based on the cost estimates. "We are sending them modifications on as many pieces as we have ready,"� Reid spokesman Jim Manley wrote in an e-mail, noting that the opt-out public option is the version of that proposal being analyzed."The leader's still listening to people and talking, and so I'll leave that up to him at this point. We've had our opportunity to make our say,"� said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. "We'll see how it goes."�Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) indicated that Reid has already made decisions on some of the remaining big issues but would not disclose which, indicating that too much information circulating about the options could derail the process of getting the bill to the floor. "We're waiting for the package to be scored and, to be honest about it, the less anyone talks about, the more likely CBO can come back privately and tell the leader,"� Baucus said.Schumer endorsed the same tactic, underscoring the benefits to the Democratic leadership of keeping its cards close to the vest until Reid is ready to make an announcement. "Before he can really make it public, he has to see what CBO says,"� he said. "Letting it all out now doesn't make much sense until we get a CBO score."�

Source: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/65303-beyond-public-option-big-decisions-loom-for-health-bill- The contents of this site are © 2009 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsisiary of News Communications, Inc. Comments (5)This health care bill is sucking the life out of us older people.Sorry, no pun intended to the seniors and members of AARP.Don't forget,checks start flowing to ACORN again on October 31…Happy Halloween..BY rick on 10/29/2009 at 06:34If the opt-out provision that's being scored (per the Manley e-mail referenced above) allows states to opt out of benefits but not payments, won't that artificially inflate the revenue side of the equation (unless the modeling shows that no rational state would opt out)?BY DrSteve on 10/29/2009 at 07:48Listen and you will hear "prevention, prevention, prevention" in the "Health Care Reform" pitch. Translation, is vaccination, vaccinations, vaccinations. Who is a major vaccine broker? Goldman Sachs. Who is a major Obama campaign donation machine. Goldman Sachs. Who isn't getting their salaries cut? Goldman Sachs. Who makes a bundle printing money as a major shareholder of the Federal Reserve? Goldman Sachs. Which states threatened to extract 1,000 dollars a day from each citizen's bank account who refused to be vaccinated, Massachusetts, governed by Obama pal Deval. If you look into the Soros background, the background of many Czars, it is population control And money. The "pandemic" labal has allowed the use of mercury and squalene to dilute the vaccines to make more quickly and cheaply. There is no health reform here, just vaccines and rationing, and death. Democrats and Death, womb to grave.BY Lila Cardiff on 10/29/2009 at 09:00Now the battle REALLY begins! Check out BY Bruce on 10/29/2009 at 09:13Seems like you missed a few issues - like the constitutionali ty of mandating insurance purchases by individuals, cutbacks to Medicare and the likelihood doctors will refuse service to more seniors, dumping part of the deficit on states by expanding Medicaid without adequate Federal funding, and tort reform. For all its effort, Congress has already hopelessly bungled this reform.BY Edward Will on 10/29/2009 at 10:37Add Comment

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