|September 29, 2009||Posted by ITUP under Blog||
The amendment process continues today in the Finance Committee, where both public option amendments were voted down after extensive deliberation. The more ambitious public option amendment lost on a 8-15 vote. The Schumer public option amendment (the ‘weaker’ of the two public option amendments) failed by a 10-13 vote with Democratic Senators Baucus, Conrad, and Lincoln voting against it and Senators Nelson and Carper switching their vote this time in support. This vote is the first clear and unequivocal Democratic opposition to a public option, so expect advocacy groups to begin focusing their efforts on key centrist Dems.
Most fascinating is the possible strategy in the coming floor vote, where Senators could vote AGAINST a filibuster (which needs a full 60 votes), though may not necessarily vote FOR a public plan (which only needs a majority after surviving a filibuster).
Facing some delay, the Committee now hopes hopes to finish the bill by Thursday or Friday. I put together a summary of selected amendments to the America’s Healthy Futures Act that have passed a Committee vote.
Some of the provisions in the document:
-Allow small businesses up to 100 employees to purchase through the exchange by 2015, and employers with more than 100 employees after 2017
-Allow states to be granted a waiver to provide coverage at least as comprehensive as required under Chairman’s Mark through process similar to Medicaid and SCHIP
-Expand premium credit eligibility to those between 300-400% FPL, capping individual’s share of premium at 12% of income
-Allow individuals who would qualify for exemption from individual mandate to be to purchase the “young invincible” policy
Medicare and Medicaid Reform Provisions
-Require states to report annually on Medicaid enrollment and outreach processes
-Apply a payment modifier to Medicare fee-for-service based on a composite of quality measures
-Increase annual fees on insurance industry from $6B to $6.7B
-Remove annual fees on clinical laboratories
-Increase excise tax on insurers to 40% that exceed plan threshold amounts ($8,000/$21,000 for individual family)
-Increase insurance plan excise tax threshold amounts for retired individuals and high-risk professions over age 55 by $750/$2,000 for individual/family, with all thresholds indexed by Consumer Price Index for Urban Customers