Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Healthcare reform update

The Senate Finance Committee cleared the Baucus healthcare reform proposal this afternoon by a 14-9 vote. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R Maine) was the only Republican to vote with the majority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to spend the next week or so completing the merger of the Finance Committee bill with the more liberal Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee bill and bring that bill to the Senate floor around October 26 according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The House leadership also plans to bring a consolidated health care reform bill to the House floor by the end of this month. Interestingly, Modern Healthcare reports that
House Democrats have made further adjustments to their sweeping healthcare
legislation, adding a measure that would expand coverage for young adults while
taking steps to remove an expensive “fix” to Medicare's physician payment

At a news conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the addition of a new provision that would enable young adults between the ages of 19 and 26 to remain under their parent's healthcare coverage.

The American Medical Association can be none too pleased about the first change, but the House leadership appears to be ripping a page out of the Baucus playbook. That proposal received favorable scoring from the Congressional Budget Office because it only includes a one year fix to the Medicare formula, and asks the medical community to bet on the come so to speak.

The Medical Management Group Association just released a survey indicating that medical practices' favorite payer in terms of administrative processes - not payment rates -- is Medicare Part B. Doctors, be careful of what you wish for.

Increasing the FEHB Program's dependent children limiting age from 22 to 25 has been an objective of Congressman Danny Davis (D Ill.), among others, for the past two years.

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