Senate HELP Committee Suspends Markup Until After July 4 Recess
On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee decided to suspend markup of its health reform bill until after the July 4 recess, with the goal of finalizing the proposal by July 10, according to Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), CQ HealthBeat reports.
Dodd has been leading the panel's work on reform legislation while Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) receives treatment for brain cancer in Massachusetts. Dodd said the panel could not continue its work without the Congressional Budget Office's scoring of long-term care provisions.
The markup originally was to run through Friday.
Dodd said he would provide panel members with proposals for major elements of the bill -- such as a public plan, employer mandates and generic biotechnology drugs -- "by the first of the week" so they could review the language during the recess and take up discussion of the bill again on July 6.
On Thursday, the panel approved two amendments from ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) that would require the HHS secretary to evaluate publicly funded workplace wellness programs before evaluating similar private programs, and that would prohibit lawmakers from using workplace wellness programs to establish federal requirements.The HELP Committee also voted 12-10 to reject an amendment proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would have allowed lower-cost prescription drugs to be imported for sale in the U.S. McCain said he would reintroduce the amendment when the bill reaches the Senate floor (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 6/25). 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.