Federal Healthcare Update

July 29, 2009

Pardon Our Dust

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Late breaking news indicates that the Blue Dog Democrats and Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) have reached a deal on health care reform.  Today’s deal will allow the Energy and Commerce Committee to resume markup this afternoon with plans to vote on the bill in Committee by Friday.  As we reported yesterday, there will not be a vote on the floor of the House before the recess starts on Friday.  Four of the seven Blue Dogs on the Committee agreed to the compromise.
Details are still trickling out, but initial reports say that the deal will cut $100 billion from the overall cost of the bill, bringing the total price tag under $1 trillion, and will exempt small businesses with a payroll less than $500,000 from paying for any government-sponsored health coverage, double the $250,000 in the initial draft.  Doctors and other health care providers would also be allowed to negotiate their payment rates with the government-sponsored health care arm, rather than being pegged to Medicare rates.
The compromise version of the bill also allows states to create co-ops for residents to buy private insurance, while keeping the public option of government-sponsored health care.