I admit I haven’t read all 852 pages of the House bill, but the more I look, there’s good stuff. There’s some work to do, and areas where the bill is silent–especially on some financing elements.
But it is important to note some of the provisions that have been patient protections that are small provisions of the bill, but on their own are important and that have been long advocated for: a ban on balance billing; a requirement that all health insurance plans would have to spend at least 85% of revenues
on patient care; the establishment of a floor of basic benefits include maternity and well-baby care; additional assistance for early retirees; and the closing of the donut hole in Medicare Part D. We’ll have a fuller report later.
Until then, here’s the press conference where they released the bill. The first two speakers, and two of the three Chairmen, are Californians: Rep. George Miller of the Education and Labor Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Also standing is Rep. Pete Stark, who chairs the Health Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, and who was recognized at the end of the press conference for his decades of work on these issues.
It features the three chairmen of the relevant House committees, and it is remarkable how they are all working together–this is not normal, or usual, but it is welcome. It shows that they understand the urgency enormity of the issue and the moment.
The whole press conference is moving, and provided me hope after a long week.