Senator Joe Lieberman, who has forced Democrats to jump through hoops on healthcare reform in recent weeks, was effectively told to be quiet and sit down on Thursday.
Tales from the Trail
So President Barack Obama goes to Capitol Hill over the weekend and late Tuesday Senate Democrats reach a healthcare compromise on a public insurance option (Republicans oppose the legislation so every Democrat vote is needed to move it along).
The Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ non-partisan score keeper on the cost of legislation, has some good news for Republicans and the alternative healthcare proposal they plan to offer in the House of Representatives. Their plan would save the federal budget deficit $68 billion over 10 years and on average reduce insurance premiums compared to what they would be under current law.
Republican victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governors’ races may send shivers through Democratic circles, but what does it mean for President Barack Obama’s ambitious proposal to overhaul the $2.5 trillion healthcare system?
Democrats, who have been on the defensive in a partisan battle over their sweeping healthcare overhaul, are firing back now that Republicans are preparing an alternative in the U.S. House of Representatives.House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that Republicans will get a vote on their proposal when the House considers the Democratic-written legislation possibly later this week.Hoyer, a Democrat, did not shy away from offering his own opinion about the Republican bill, saying it would allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines and would “gut consumer protections and encourage a race to the bottom.”Republicans argue the provision would inject more competition into the market and help lower premiums. But Hoyer said insurers would flock to states with the fewest consumer protections, sell their policies at low prices and that many consumers would discover in the middle of a health crisis that their policies don’t offer adequate protection.Other provisions in the bill, as outlined by House Republican Leader John Boehner, would encourage insurers to “cherry pick” and enroll the healthiest people, Hoyer said.The Republican proposal also leaves out major market reforms contained in the Democratic bill that would bar insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging more based on medical history.A summary of the House Republican proposal is to be made available here.Boehner argued that the Republican plan aims to rein in soaring insurance premiums, but Hoyer and other Democrats say it would do little to expand coverage or make healthcare more affordable.”It doesn’t provide for insurance availability for all Americans,” Hoyer said. “It does little to expand access to coverage or address the $1,000 to $1,100 extra that every American is paying for people who do not have coverage and therefore add to the uncompensated care in hospitals.”Click here for more Reuters political coveragePhoto credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is greeted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi at healthcare event)
In eight U.S. states and the capital, Washington, D.C., being beaten by your spouse or domestic partner can be deemed a “pre-existing condition” that a company can legally use as a reason to deny health insurance coverage. Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to President Barack Obama, raised the issue in a web chat making the White House’s case for healthcare reform on Monday.