Like I have been saying – the survival of health care out of conference is anything but certain:
“Last night’s vote in the Senate should be applauded for what it was:
an affirmative statement by that body that comprehensive health care reform legislation should not be held captive any longer by a select few.” “As this legislation moves towards its constitutionally mandated reconciliation with the House of Representatives, I also want to make it clear that, in my mind, this bill does not adequately address many of the problems that plague our current system. Without material changes, this legislation will be reform in name only.”
“In order to pass the House of Representatives, a final health care bill must provide universal affordability and competition to the American people. Additionally, it should be financed by those with the ability to pay and not by working class Americans lucky enough to receive quality health coverage through their employers.”
“I supported the House bill because it included serious provisions aimed at helping individuals who currently cannot afford to purchase health care by providing subsidies and expanding Medicaid to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The Senate bill passed last night does not ensure this same level of affordability; there are fewer subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid is not as extensive.”
You can read on here.
Dave Dayen summed up what Conyers wants rather nicely:
• Affordability: Conyers argues for more generous subsidies to make health insurance affordable.
• Medicaid expansion: The House bill has Medicaid expanded to 150% of the federal poverty level; the Senate bill stops at 133%. Conyers wants the House version in the final bill.
• Public option: As expected, Conyers argues for a public option to compete with private insurance companies.
• Repeal of the insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption: We will see if the repeal was not inserted into the Senate bill to secure Ben Nelson’s vote. Harry Reid has talked strongly about repealing the anti-trust exemption, and the House bill had it included. There’s every opportunity to include it in the final bill.
• Excise tax: unions and progressive leaders are pushing strongly for the House’s version of financing, dropping the excise tax on high-end insurance plans that financed part of it and substituting it with a surtax on millionaires. Sen. Debbie Stabenow also noted today that the excise tax should be relaxed or eliminated. The White House has said that the excise tax is a major cost control component of reform, so they’ve staked some of the bill on it. In addition, Ben Nelson has objected to the House surtax on millionaires, saying “that would break” his promise to vote for the bill.
I got a feeling Conyers isn’t the only one in the House wanting some or all of these items addressed before voting on the bill.