Quite a week on federal health reform.
The Senate HELP Committee began mark-up on their bill this week and ran into some snags over the public plan option, the employer mandate, and the overall price tag. The Congressional timeline is beginning to slip as the Senate Finance Committee has postponed its markup in order to better understand the CBO cost estimates and strive for a bipartisan bill. A slideshow of the Finance committee’s proposal started to circulate. A bipartisan group of former Senate Majority Leaders also got in on the action by unveiling their own health reform proposal. Speaker Pelosi has insisted that the House bill will include a public plan option.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are developing their own health reform plan.
Today’s big news was the three committees in the House of Representatives released a discussion draft of their health reform bill, 852 pages of it. Some smart and good people who have skimmed the key parts have been pleased–especially after hearing some of the conversations on the Senate side–on issues like affordability, shared responsibility by employers, and the public health insurance option.
Here’s more info:
The House Tri-Committee Health Reform Discussion Draft: Full Bill Text »
The House Tri-Committee Health Reform Discussion Draft: Summary »
What’s In the Health Care Reform Bill for You? »
The Health Insurance Exchange »
Shared Responsibility »
Public Health Insurance Option »
While there are details to look at and likely to work out, this House package would be a major improvement over the current broken system, and help Californians get and keep the coverage they want and need.
We are not surprised that California Congressional leaders, including Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Miller, Chairman Stark, and others have put forward a strong proposal. Californians know that we need major health reform, and we need it urgently. The problems in the health system are significantly bigger in California, and it’s not a surprise that our condition has translated into such overwhelming support for broad public (as seen by the Field Poll yesterday, and some of our key policymakers as well.