Congress returns from its Fourth of July holiday this week and attention again will turn to health care reform. The San Francisco Chronicle has provided a useful chart comparing the House Tri-Committee proposal, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee proposal, which was updated on July 1, and the Senate Finance Committee proposal, which is the only one of the three to seek bi-partisanship. The Senate HELP Committee touted its new "low cost" proposal which features a public option and an employer mandate. Last week, Wal-Mart Stores joined the Service Employees International Union in endorsing an employer mandate. Business Insurance reports that
Considering the fact that health insurance coverage costs employers thousands of dollars per employee annually, what prudent employer would decline to make this modest assessment? There has to be a catch.
Under the latest proposal, unveiled Thursday, employers would be required to pay 60% of the health insurance premium. Those that did not would have to pay an annual assessment of $750 for each full-time employee not covered and $375 for each part-time employee not covered.
The so-called “play-or-pay” mandate would not apply to employers with 25 or fewer employees.
- Two Senate Finance Committee members, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D NY) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R Iowa) disagreed over the public option issue on the Sunday morning news shows, according to CQ Politics.com. Interestingly, "[b]oth Grassley and Schumer said they believed that legislation could be completed by President Obama’s October deadline."
- Government HIT News reports that many health care organizations urged the Government in public comments to be more flexible when defining "meaningful use" of health information technology, which is the key that opens the door to the $30 billion of health information technology funds that the the recovery act makes available to health care providers. Those organizations also want more time to put the meaningful systems in place.
- Today's New York Times offered an engaging portrait of Wellpoint's CEO Angela Braly.