COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: GOP Delays Vote on Antitrust Bill
Facing internal party dissent and external pressure from insurance companies, Republicans yesterday canceled a vote to allow doctors to bargain collectively with insurers, the Washington Post reports. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) had promised Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), the bill's sponsor, that the full House would vote on the measure by the Memorial Day recess, but an 86-57 closed door vote, requested by Rep. Anne Northrup (R-Ky.), "demonstrated the depth of Republican resistance to the bill" and convinced the Rules committee not to bring it to the floor (Eilperin, 5/26). "There are some grave concerns," said Northrup, who cautioned that the bill's defeat on the floor by Republican lawmakers against the legislation could be "misinterpreted as a callous" attack on doctors. The vote cancellation underscores the tightrope many Republicans must walk in this election year, as they seek to appease business groups while addressing politically popular issues such as a patients' rights and prescription drug coverage (VandeHei, Wall Street Journal, 5/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.