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Health Reform’s Ideal Timeline through the House

Today: The House Budget Committee ‘marks up’ the reconciliation bill, effectively moving it to the Rules Committee after a 48 hour waiting period

Tonight/Tomorrow: The legislative language and CBO score of the reconciliation bill are made public

Wednesday, March 17 – Thursday, March 18: The House Rules Committee takes up the actual reconciliation bill, where the rule will be made on how the bill will specifically be voted on. The options include:

1) Voting TWICE, where the House votes once on the Senate bill and once on the reconciliation bill

2) Voting ONCE, where the House votes simultaneously on the Senate and reconciliation bill

3) Voting ONCE, where the House votes only on the reconciliation bill and deems the Senate bill passed (the preferred version by Speaker Pelosi and others, as there is technically not a recorded vote on the Senate bill’s ‘special deals’)

Early reports indicate the reconciliation bill removes the special deals for Nebraska and Florida, though preserves the appropriations for Louisiana Medicaid and a Connecticut hospital. It also modifies the Cadillac tax to only those making more than $250,000 and increases the medical device industry tax from 2.5% to 2.9%. The bill will also likely include a student loan overhaul ($62B in savings), which will result in additional offsets toward health reform spending.

Friday, March 19 – Sunday, March 21: The reconciliation bill goes to the House floor for limited debate, with passage at any time (using one of the above options) before Sunday to send to the Senate

Despite last week’s reports, it is still not entirely clear whether the President must sign the Senate bill into law before a reconciliation bill can be voted on in the Senate.

Two powerful associations indicated their strong support of passage today, including the American Geriatrics Society (representing over 16,000 geriatric health care professionals) and the AAMC (representing every American medical school, 128,000 faculty members, 75,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians).