Monday, September 21, 2009

More Energy and Commerce Amendments

AHIP reports that the House Energy and Commerce Committee which cleared a version of HR 3200, the House majority leadership's health care reform bill, shortly before the August recess will take up about two dozen amendments this week.

Energy and Commerce Committee To Consider Additional Health Reform

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning to meet this week to
consider a number of additional health reform amendments. This markup, which is
expected to be brief, will fulfill a promise made by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA),
the committee chairman, at the conclusion of the committee's July markup of H.R.
3200, the "America's Affordable Health Choices Act."

According to preliminary information that is circulating around Capitol Hill, approximately two dozen amendments will be accepted as the "base text" for the upcoming markup. While legislative language is not available as of this writing, notable amendments included in this base text include:

-- an amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) would revise the bill's prohibition against rescissions by providing insurers 30 days to rescind policies on the basis of fraud;

-- an amendment by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) that would require states, as a condition of receiving federal Medicaid funding, to enact laws requiring health insurance plans to estimate out-of-pocket costs for their enrollees and requiring hospitals to disclose information on their charges;

-- an amendment by Reps. John Barrow (D-GA) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) would establish subrogation rules for qualified health benefit plans, stipulating that plans could be reimbursed for amounts recovered relating to personal injury or similar claims only if the enrollee has been fully compensated for all damages arising out of the claim; and

-- an amendment by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) would provide grants for
employer wellness programs.

An unofficial document that briefly lists these amendments also identifies additional amendments that may be offered to the base text, including an amendment by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) that would prohibit the government-run plan from extending to its enrollees the existing Medicare beneficiary protections relating to balance billing and private contracts by physicians who opt out of Medicare.

Under HR 3200's provisions, FEHB plans and ERISA plans are not subject to qualified health plan requirements until 2019.

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