72 hours…

While the rest of the political class has focused on the elections Tuesday evening, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced the “manager’s amendment” for the House health reform bill. This is the final amendment the House leadership plans on making to the main bill before full passage. She promised that she would allow 72 hours before introducing the final bill before a full vote. Consider this your 72 minute warning.

The amendment is not major. It does not include amendments sought–by the right and left–on hot-button issues like abortion, the public health insurance option, allowing states to adopt single-payer, or other changes to the base bill introduced in its new form last week. They are going to the vote with the bill largely as it is.

Here’s her statement:

“Tonight, we have filed a manager’s amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which is the next critical step toward comprehensive health insurance reform that ensures affordability for the middle class, provides security for our seniors, and protects our children’s future by not adding to our deficit. Our bill covers 96 percent of Americans, makes coverage more affordable for all, and creates new consumer protections that will end discrimination by insurance companies against the sick and cap what Americans pay out-of-pocket.

“Building on the legislation House Democrats introduced last week, this manager’s amendment includes these key improvements to the bill:
· providing $1 billion in new resources to states to rein in price gouging by insurance companies,
· excluding insurers who put profits over patients from an affordable marketplace that will serve tens of millions of Americans,
· expanding on the provision that removed insurance companies’ anti-trust exemption and strengthening it to further promote competition and bring down costs for Americans; and
· expanding oversight to further prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
“Americans are ready for comprehensive health insurance reform, and the House will soon act.”

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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