Health insurance reform: It’s not over yet?
The 153-page list of fixes includes:
- Scaling back the tax on “luxury” health insurance plans
- Increasing the subsidies the government will provide to insurance consumers
- Closing the Medicare prescription drug donut hole
- Undoing controversial deals including the ones for Nebraska and Louisiana
- Revisions to student loan rules
And yes, just as many predicted, the Senate leadership is using budget reconciliation to pass these “improvements.”
That means they need only 51 votes, and one of those can come from Vice President Biden.
The Democrats’ challenge is to prevent any changes from being made to the bill. If even one amendment is added, the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote. You can imagine how painful that would be for everyone.
If you have the stomach for it, you can read the details of the sausage making here and see what Republicans are going to try to do to slow down or stop the bill.
According to Newsweek.com, the GOP doesn’t have many good options left at least in the short term:
“Now that a reform package has been signed, there’s no longer a bill to oppose, only a list of fixes to vote for or against. Thus the quandary: if Republicans vote no on the reconciliation fixes, they’re actually voting to support the House bill that passed on Sunday, which is actually the same bill that passed the Senate in December, which they all voted against. They’d also be voting to keep in all the distasteful components like the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase.”
Opponents of health insurance reform are looking ahead to the November elections to exact retribution on legislators who supported the bill and to the court room to try to block the personal mandate portion of the law.
It will be interesting to see who can market their spin of the new law more successfully and win over those elusive “undecideds” and independent voters.