Health Care Bill Changed: Cuts More From Elder Care
How many ways can Congress find to scr*w the elderly? As a result of a compromise today, the Dems conceded more ground to conservatives on the health care bill.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which expects to approve the new version of the legislation by Friday, unveiled the newest version of the proposal at a legislative markup Wednesday. It would cut the cost of health-care reform by $100 billion and provide payment guarantees to rural hospitals.
...Across Capitol Hill, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced that a draft of the reform package would provide coverage to 95 percent of Americans, be fully offset by tax increases and Medicare savings...
... The draft bill would provide more cost savings through Medicare than did previous versions, reducing the need for new revenue from about $500 billion in earlier drafts to "somewhat over $300 billion," according to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who is working with Baucus on the bill. The draft also would scale back Medicare payments to physicians, a long-promised but costly provision.
If you scale back Medicare pay to doctors, it seems to me you scale back the number of doctors willing to treat the elderly. If I'm wrong, then it's just another sign our elected officials are doing a lousy job of explaining the bill in terms the public can understand. [More...]
Baucus says the cost of the plan to cover 95% of Americans will be paid for by tax increases and Medicare savings.
The House changes, which drew immediate opposition from liberals in the chamber, would reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance, exempt additional businesses from a requirement to offer insurance to their workers and change the terms of a government insurance option.
..."We do not support this," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. "I think they have no idea how many people are against this. They can't possibly be taking us seriously if they're going to bring this forward."
The Republican plans are even worse:
House Republican conservatives, relegated to the sidelines of the debate, unveiled a $700 billion health care plan with tax credits to help defray the cost of insurance...The GOP bill also would limit jury awards for pain and suffering, and create new courts with specially trained judges to decide medical malpractice claims.
Here's more on the medicare issues from yesterday's New York Times.
Any bipartisan compromise that emerges from the negotiations is also expected to include a number of cutbacks in planned payments to hospitals and other Medicare providers, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars.This whole thing gets worse by the hour.
Update: Doctors respond to the proposal.
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