Obama To Consider Four Republican Proposals for Final Health Reform Bill
On Tuesday, President Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders of both parties saying that he is open to considering four GOP health reform proposals for inclusion in final overhaul legislation, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The offer is viewed as a last-ditch attempt to secure bipartisan support for reform before Obama presents his revised overhaul plan on Wednesday, along with a strategy for moving it through Congress.
The proposals have been championed by Republicans for months, and some were discussed at the health reform summit last week (Levey/Hook, Los Angeles Times, 3/2).
Obama's letter discussed:
- Adding $50 million to current reform legislation to develop state demonstration projects intended to lower the cost of medical malpractice disputes;
- Offering high-deductible insurance plans that could encourage U.S. residents to set up health savings accounts;
- Using undercover patients to discover Medicare and Medicaid fraud; and
- Increasing Medicaid payments to physicians to entice them to stay in the program.
Obama also agreed to drop a clause that would have provided older Florida residents a better deal on Medicare Advantage plans (Wolf/Fritze, USA Today, 3/2).
In the letter, Obama wrote, "I said throughout this process that I'd continue to draw on the best ideas from both parties, and I'm open to these proposals in that spirit" (Los Angeles Times, 3/3).
GOP Rejects Obama's Offer
Republicans rebuffed Obamaâs offer on the basis that the proposals are insufficient to correct Democratic legislation that they say remains deeply flawed.
In a letter to Obama, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote that the GOP was "surprised and disappointed with your latest proposal to simply paper a few of these commonsense proposals over an unsalvageable bill" (Herszenhorn , "Prescriptions," New York Times, 3/2).
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said so few Republican ideas could not correct the "flawed Medicaid policy in the Senate bill (HR 3590)," which is "a disgrace for everyone who needs access to health care because it gives 15 million people a false promise by putting them in Medicaid where they'll face challenges finding providers who will see them" (Herszenhorn , "Prescriptions," New York Times, 3/2).
Reconciliation Is a Go
This morning, Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) confirmed that Senate Democrats will use reconciliation to advance health care reform
Harkin said the House would pass the Senate health care reform bill once Senate Democratic leaders show House Democrats they have the votes to pass changes to the Senate bill through reconciliation (Raju, "Live Pulse," Politico, 3/3).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.