Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Health Reform Passes. Now, The Real Work Begins.

Well, as I'm sure you're well aware, Health Reform has passed both Houses of Congress. The House of Representatives passed their version on November 7th, 2009 with a vote of 220-215. The Senate passed their version of the health care bill on December 24th, 2009 with a clear 60-39 party-line vote. A clear victory for health-reform advocates (and a nice Christmas gift for those advocates whom celebrate the holiday), the battle is far from over.

Step 1 of the battle was passing the bill. Step 2 now is compromising the two forms and agreeing on the bill's provisions, which is no small task. A number of provisions will be hammered out: 1) national versus state health exchanges (no more public option), 2) definition of, and possible taxing of, "Cadillac" health plans, and 3) how to pay for this health care overhaul. Democrats are focusing on some provisions appealing to all consumers, such as: 1) the cutoff age for children to be on their parents' health plan moved to 26, 2) eliminated co-payments for preventive services, and 3) no more denying coverage to children under the age of 18 with preexisting conditions. However, that doesn't mean Republicans are done fighting. As stated by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), "My colleagues [Republicans] and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law."

I think Adam Zyglis' (from the Buffalo News) Charlie Brown cartoon (above) says it all for our next steps. How far will the compromises go and what will our final version of health care reform look like? Will it be enough?

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