March 3rd, 2010 – This afternoon President Obama unveiled his new Health Reform Bill that he hopes to get approved by Congress and then force through the Senate using a process known as reconciliation. However, controversial provisions concerning abortion threaten to stall the bill in the House.
The bill will cut Medicare Advantage to help fund the nearly $1 trillion expansion of health insurance benefits and subsidies to America’s uninsured. It will expand Medicare prescription coverage as part of a deal that Pharma cut with President Obama. Pharma stands to come out far ahead, as it includes mandates that Medicare recipients buy more brand name drugs.
President Obama said it will include several popular Republican ideas including $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs, undercover investigation of Medicare and Medicaid fraud and support of Health Savings Account qualified plans. The bill will not include the controversial government run public plan option.
In spite of the announcement, what the final $1 Trillion Health Care Reform Bill will look like is still a mystery, as it is still quite unclear which health care provisions can be approved under reconciliation, which is reserved for legislation pertaining to the budget. While President Obama is calling for a vote by the end of March, the Health Reform Bill’s major provisions are not expected to take effect until 2013-2014.
Republicans called the Health Reform Bill a government takeover of the health care system and cried out that they should start from scratch with an improved Health Reform Bill that does more to reduce the skyrocketing health care costs that drive up health insurance premiums year after year.
Recent public opinion polls have tended to favor the Republican approach, but we’ll have to see how the public responds to this new compromised bill. Regardless of public opinion or political cost, it looks like President Obama is determined to push forward.
Colorado, what do you think? Should the Democrats push forward with the Health Reform compromise or start from scratch with a bi-partisan effort? Click on the “Comments” link below to share your opinion.