Another health insurance reform news thread

President Barack Obama gave House Democrats a pep-talk today, and his speech (which wasn't pre-written) got rave reviews from many Democrats. If only the Senate bill were as good as Obama made it sound.

As Nathan mentioned earlier today, House Democratic leaders have decided to ditch the "deem and pass" method for passing health insurance reform with a single vote, even though the legislative procedure isn't as rare or controversial as Republicans would have you believe. Instead, the House will hold an hour of flood debate tomorrow on "the rule to allow reconcilation to get to the floor," then House members will vote on the rule, then they will debate the Senate health insurance reform bill and vote on it. I assume this means that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confident she has the 216 votes she needs.

Bart Stupak is now claiming only about half a dozen Democrats are willing to vote against the bill unless it contains major new restrictions on private insurance coverage of abortion. Stupak was supposed to hold a press conference this morning, but he cancelled it, so maybe that means he didn't get the deal he was hoping for from Pelosi. David Dayen speculates on who is still in the Stupak bloc. David Waldman warns about the prospect that Stupak will use a "motion to recommit" to try to get his anti-abortion language into the reconciliation fix package.

Senator Tom Harkin and the three Iowa Democrats in the House "announced a major breakthrough today on the issue of Medicare payment reform in the final health care reform bill," according to a joint press release. Excerpt:

[Representatives Dave] Loebsack, [Senator Tom] Harkin, [Leonard] Boswell and [Bruce] Braley have been outspoken advocates for changing the way Medicare pays health care providers for services, from its current fee-for-service system into a quality and value-based system.

Loebsack, Harkin, Boswell and Braley helped negotiate a compromise adding language to the health care reform bill that provides an immediate $800 million to address geographic disparities for both doctors and hospitals, as well as written guarantees from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for further action to reform Medicare reimbursement rates that do not qualify for reconciliation under the Byrd Rule. The Senate bill previously only provided a Medicare reimbursement fix for doctors.

The House reconciliation package maintained automatic implementation of a value index as part of the reimbursement structures for doctors, beginning in 2015. This language was secured in the Senate bill with the help of Harkin and is based on Braley’s Medicare Payment Improvement Act, introduced in June 2009. Under the fixes secured in the Senate bill and the House reconciliation package, Iowa doctors will see five percent increases in current Medicare reimbursement rates in both 2010 and 2011.

I posted the whole press release, containing more details, at Bleeding Heartland. This deal appears to have secured the vote of Peter DeFazio (OR-04) as well. Yesterday he threatened to vote no because of language on the Medicare payments disparity.

Outside the Capitol, tea party protesters shouted racist insults and held signs threatening gun violence if health care reform passes. Congressional Republicans should disavow this reprehensible behavior, but of course they won't.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

Tags: Barack Obama, Medicare, Congress, House, Senate, health care reform, health insurance reform (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Now a done deal?

Just before, it looked bleak, but now it looks like a done deal. The votes are in. Finally, lets move onto something popular (at least we hope).

A very interesting post by Jon Walker, Republicans offering amendments to get rid of the mandate.

They have no chance of getting a vote on the floor, but looking at the Republican amendments can provide some insights into the upcoming GOP campaign against the bill in the midterm. Clearly the Republicans will attack the individual mandate and the IRS enforced penalty for not buying private insurance.

The numbers I've seen show that to be a real moving issue, and I've not really seen anything beyond denial (Nate Silver seemed to make this argument), in terms of how we can potentially mitigate that being the case. Here's Jon:

Polling it has shown that offering a public alternative (public option or Medicare buy-in) dramatically reduced opposition to the individual mandate. Foolishly, Democrats choose to leave both public alternative out of this bill.

That would probalby help alot, but it seems as if we won't even get those as votes. I'll be interested and will blog about the responses we see come up to the attack.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-20 09:10PM | 0 recs
RE: Now a done deal?

Not sure about that. Contrary to some reports, Glenn Nye is a no. Loretta Sanchez is also considered a no.

Bill Clinton is supposedly working the phones to round up the last few votes. Who is he calling? Marion Berry? Loretta Sanchez?

by desmoinesdem 2010-03-20 11:33PM | 0 recs
Keep Calling Congress on Sunday

The health care reform voting does not begin until mid-afternoon on Sunday and a few votes are still up for grabs. Following are the list of Congresspeople who we should keep calling to make sure that we win this historic victory on Sunday!

Brian Baird - Washington (Vancouver, Olympia) - (202) 225-3536

Paul Kanjorski - Pennsylvania (Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Mount Pocono) - 202-225-6511

John Tanner - Tennessee (Union City, Jackson, Millington) - 202-225-4714

Earl Pomeroy - North Dakota (Bismarck, Fargo) - (202) 225-2611

Lincoln Davis - Tennessee (Columbia, Jamestown, Rockwood) - 202.225.6831

Marcy Kaptur - Ohio (Toledo) - (202) 225-4146

Mike Michaud - Maine (Bangor, Lewiston, Presque Isle, Waterville) - 202-225-6306

Bill Foster - Illinois (Batavia, Dixon, Geneseo) - (202) 225-2976

Kathy Dahlkemper - Pennsylvania (Erie) - (202) 225-5406

Chris Carney - Pennsylvania (Clarks Summit, Shamokin, Williamsport) - (202) 225-3731

Steve Driehaus - Ohio (Cincinnati) - (202) 225-2216

Stephen Lynch - Massachusetts (Brockton, Boston) - 202-225-8273

Rick Boucher - Virginia (Abingdon, Pulaski, Big Stone Gap) - 202-225-3861

Loretta Sanchez - California (Garden Grove) - (202) 225-2965

Dan Lipinski - Illinois (LaGrange, Oak Lawn, Chicago's southwest side) - (202) 225 - 5701

Joe Donnelly - Indiana (South Bend, LaPorte, Michigan City, Kokomo) - (202) 225-3915

Marion Berry - Arkansas (Jonesboro, Cabot, Mountain Home) - (202) 225-4076

Jerry Costello - Illinois (Carbondale, Belleville, E. St. Louis, Granite City, Chester) - (202) 225-5661

Nick Rahall - West Virginia (Beckley, Bluefield, Huntington, Logan) - (202) 225-3452

Solomon Ortiz - Texas (Corpus Christi, Brownsville) - (202) 225-7742

Alan Mollohan - West Virginia (Morgantown, Wheeling, Clarksburg, Parkersburg) - (202) 225-4172

by Winning Progressive 2010-03-21 01:49AM | 0 recs

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