Where healthcare reform is heading
Karen Tumulty of Time opines:
The bill most likely would attempt to cover children who have not received coverage under other federal programs, and possibly their parents. It might also expand the Medicaid program to low-income people who do not currently qualify. … If the Senate decides to pass the bill under parliamentary rules that prevent a filibuster, it may also have to get rid of other provisions that do not directly affect federal spending, such as those that attempt to encourage wellness programs and more preventive care.
Another problem with trying to write a scaled-back bill is that so many elements of health reform are interconnected, politically and substantively. … Making an individual mandate work requires subsidizing people who could not buy insurance on their own, and that is expensive. Cut the subsidies and the mandate back too far, and insurance companies — deprived of the millions of new paying customers promised under broader proposals — could end their support of the deal, which would include new requirements that they sell affordable policies to people with pre-existing conditions.
Me: This is what I have been saying. A rump bill passed in the senate under reconciliation would expand children’s health insurance (SCHIP) and expand Medicaid and perhaps pay for it all with a surtax on upper incomes, though some Dems think they can push through a public option, too. Anything else — regulations, health exchanges — would have to pass in a separate bill. But a hard-line move by Dems would through Congress into an uproar and I doubt anything else would pass.