House and Senate announce health reform legislation

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions released health reform legislation, saying they will continue to discuss key outstanding issues, including a public plan option and coverage requirement for employers, with Republicans on the committee. While discussions between HELP Committee Democrats and Republicans on key outstanding issues continue, Chairman Kennedy released the landmark “Affordable Health Choices Act.” Click here for a copy of the bill.

 

According to the Senate release, the legislation will allow people to keep the coverage they have while providing new, more affordable options; reduce health care costs through stronger prevention, better quality of care and use of information technology; give citizens more information to support prevention; invest in training for doctors, nurses and health professionals and improve care coordination; and enable the elderly and disabled to live at home and function independently. The committee will meet tomorrow to discuss outstanding legislative options and has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday. It plans to begin marking up legislation June 16.

 

In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) released a four-page outline of draft health reform legislation. According to the House release, The Tri-Committee Health Reform Draft Proposal reduces costs, protects current coverage and preserves choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans, and ensures affordable, quality health care for all.

 

House Plan Overview:

• Maintains the ability for people to keep what they have and minimizes disruption;

• Invests in health care workforce to improve access to primary care;

• Invests in prevention and public health programs;

• Creates a new national health Exchange that permits States the option of developing a State or regional exchange in lieu of the national Exchange;

• Establishes shared responsibility among individuals, employers, and government;

• Offers sliding scale credits to ensure affordability for low and middle-income individuals and families;

• Jump starts health care delivery system reforms to reduce costs, maintain fiscal sustainability, and improve quality; and

• Expands authority to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

 

The three committee chairmen in the House, who share jurisdiction over health care issues in the House, announced they will continue to seek input from colleagues, stakeholders and the administration as they craft a final bill, and expect to send legislation to the House floor prior to the August recess.

 

(SOURCE: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, June 9, 2009)