Reform

Acceptance of Health Care Bill Continues to Decline

Poll after poll shows that despite the health care bill passing, the American public is still not keen on the bill. The latest poll from Associated Press finds that 50 percent of Americans oppose the bill, with 39 percent approving. This is quite the change since just a few weeks ago when the bill was initially signed.

Public approval doesn’t usually drop once legislation is passed. After a bill is passed, it has a tendency to gain support. Instead, the public has grown more wary of what’s in the bill. Only 28 percent of those polled actually understood the bill. Considering the amount of people it will effect and the amount of time Congress and the President had to explain it, this doesn’t bode well.

Let the Games Begin!

What a week.  First the House passes the Senate version of the Health Care Reform bill.  Then they pass a reconciliation bill that the Senate has agreed that they will pass.  Then the reconciliation bill gets modified by the Senate and then the House votes on the modified Senate version.  The President signs the first bill with great ceremony, is awaiting the second bill to sign as I write this and is now heading out on the road to begin to “sell” the plan to the American public.  Does any of this confuse you?  Well, just wait.

Doing Business in a "Reformed" Market

As some of may you know, I have been actively engaged over the past year in a lobby effort in Washington to protect brokers and general agencies ability to do business in a “reformed” health insurance market. We won some points and lost a few, but overall brokers and general agents will play a significant role in the sales and service of health insurance. The first step in that role is to understand the reforms happening. In that effort, I have compiled some of the key points that we know today.

Bill and Reconciliation Package Passes House

Late last night, the health care bill and the reconciliation passed the House. The next step will be for the Senate-passed health care bill to go to the President’s desk, while the reconciliation bill, which passed with 220 votes, now heads to the Senate for debate. Republicans also had a vote in to recommit the bill, but that lost 199-232.

Congressional Budget Office Releases New Numbers

Late Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their new numbers. The bill is expected to cost $940 billion over the next 10 years and supposedly will cut the deficit by $138 billion during the first decade and another $1.2 trillion the following decade.

Democrats had promised to unveil the reconciliation act language on the Internet for 72 hours before putting the measure to a vote. If they actually hold to their word, the vote on the Senate-passed bill would take place on Sunday, along with another vote on a package of changes created to make the bill more palatable to House Democrats. The bill would then move on to the Senate for a simple majority vote and then the President, where it would be signed into law.

New Poll by Investor's Business Daily- 45% of Doctors Would Consider Quitting if Reform Bill Passes

Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

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Has it really come down to this?

Am I the only one that is amazed at what is happening in Washington?  First we have bills passed in the House and Senate that Congressman openly admit they had not read.  Then, earlier this week, it appeared that Congress was being asked to vote on a bill that wasn’t even written yet (we’ll fix it later was the promise).

But best of all – let’s try to now pass legislation without actually voting on it by “deeming” it passed.  What kind of parliamentary gimmicks will they find next? 

Health Care Summit Review

The much talked-about health care summit between President Obama and Republicans occurred yesterday. Nearly 40 lawmakers attended the summit at the Blair House that lasted more than 7 ½ hours.

President Obama called this meeting in hopes that Congress can focus on where they agree and rectify their differences.

The conclusion? Lawmakers are back where the started. No consensus was reached and neither party budged on the issue. Despite this, both Democrats and Republicans walked away from the summit convinced that they now have the upper hand. Any idea of a compromise is gone.

The White House Health Care Reform Bill

Yesterday, President Obama released his plan on the White House web site. The President’s proposed plan closely mirrors the current Senate version with a number of additions and changes that were previous suggestions by many Republicans.  This was intended to provide at least some opportunity to show a bipartisan effort.  However, the effort was purely political and was launched with the hope that Americans watching Thursday’s health care summit will side with the bill and it will regain momentum.  Many serious doubt it.

Republicans Continue to Filibuster but Offer up Little Detail on Their Own Ideas

With next week’s health care summit between Republicans and President Obama, Republicans must show that they weren’t filibustering for the sake of holding party lines. This includes coming up with proposals on ways to reform health care in the United States.

Thus far, Republicans have blocked legislation but offered up very little in terms of possible alternatives. They want the bill to be completely scrapped and started anew but haven’t offered up a serious detailed option. President Obama wants to bring the current bills to the table during next week’s meeting. It is unclear whether the White House and Republicans are truly willing to work with each other.