Federal Relations

House and Senate Announce Health Reform Legislation

Senate panel announces health reform legislation
Democrats on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today 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. Committee Chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) said 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 has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday. It plans to begin marking up legislation June 16.

House leaders issue draft health reform proposal
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) today released a four-page outline of draft health reform legislation. The three committee chairmen, 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. Among other provisions, they said their legislative proposal would establish a health insurance exchange “to create a transparent marketplace for individuals and small employers to comparison shop among private insurers and a new public health insurance option”; introduce administrative simplification and standardization to reduce administrative costs across health plans and providers; invest in the health care workforce, prevention and public health programs; offer sliding-scale credits to ensure affordability for low and middle-income Americans; and establish shared responsibility among individuals, employers and government.