June 18th, 2009
11:58 AM ET
6 years ago

Senate committee starts revising health care reform proposal

President Obama pitched his health care plan to the American Medical Association on Monday and today, a Senate committee is working on a massive health care bill.
President Obama pitched his health care plan to the American Medical Association on Monday and today, a Senate committee is working on a massive health care bill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Senate committee began the arduous work Thursday of debating and amending the first comprehensive health care bill to come before Congress this year.

The measure before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is one of at least four expected proposals for overhauling America's ailing health care system.

At issue is how to best reduce the cost and increase the reach of the current health care system, which officials say is increasingly draining personal, corporate and government budgets while leaving 46 million Americans without health insurance.

President Barack Obama has made the issue a top priority, warning that failure to act now would bring far worse economic difficulties than the costs of plans under discussion.

Both parties in Congress agree on the need to slow the increase in health care costs while ensuring that all Americans can get health insurance, but they differ sharply on how to proceed.

Democrats generally favor a government-funded public option to compete with private insurers. Republicans say such a step would lead to a government takeover of health care, which they would oppose.

The parties agree on several principles, including an emphasis on preventive care, cost-cutting measures in the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs, and a halt to denials of coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions.

While the Senate HELP Committee began its work, the Senate Finance Committee has delayed its consideration of a similar measure because of uncertainties over the overall costs.

A Congressional Budget Office preliminary analysis this week said portions of the Senate HELP committee bill it has reviewed would cost $1 trillion over the next 10 years while reducing the number of the uninsured - currently 46 million - by just 16 million.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group made up of former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, Howard Baker and Bob Dole has offered an outline for an alternative plan intended to overcome the deep party divisions.

The proposal by the Bipartisan Policy Center called for a budget-neutral plan that would include taxing some employer-provided health care benefits for workers.

The plan stopped short of an outright government-funded public health care option, but called for various forms of government assistance to help make coverage more affordable and available. It also called for requiring all Americans to have health care.

Both taxing health care benefits and the lack of a public option go against stated Democratic positions, while the mandate for individual coverage is opposed by Republicans.


Filed under: Healthcare
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. joey from san diego

    To all the bush haters, you voted the guy in, 2 times. So quit crying about what a bad job he did. You all knew what you were voting for. So quit saying he was a bad president, he was still your president. You elected him.

    June 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. TCM

    Here's a revision....kill the bill....get a job, pay for healthcare.

    Once enough people cannot buy insurance, the price of all goods and services reduce....it's the market, you idiots! Just like anything else on the market, health insurance is a product....demand dictates price. Once the government gets involved, espeically the lib boobs under OBama, we'll be screwed with high costs, and pisspoor care...
    think about the post office...
    think about your local DMV....
    that's the future of healthcare under Obama!

    June 18, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Darren

    What I don't understand is how these republicans don't want the government to run health care (which is actually doing very well in Canada) but they want the government to decide who can marry who...hypocrisy at it's finest. You can't have it both ways silly republicans. Either the government runs everything, or it doesn't run anything. You can't pick and choose.

    June 18, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Randolph Carter

    I'm all for healthcare reform, but look at who is implementing it. After the lobbyists and other contributors have their say, any healthcare reform package passed by congress will be so watered down as to be meaningless. And expensive. I hope I'm wrong but let's see how this all goes down. Have a nice day!

    June 18, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Fed Up

    Just love the photo of Obama used for this!!! Hilarious!

    June 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. changing my screen name to see if it helps getting my comments posted

    They should look at how things are done in the Netherlands. It's likely the only model of Universal Healthcare that would fly in this country.

    And to anyone reading this that is thinking "the Netherlands is in Europe, Europe = socialist, socialist = bad", I'd like to point out the Netherlands mandates its citizens to buy PRIVATE health insurance from a PRIVATE insurance company.

    June 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Sam Sixpack

    Hey, what do you say we pick and choose which posts to include to create a self-serving false impression?

    June 18, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. lxm

    Everything is TOP issues for Obama and it last for 3 days and then on to a "new" top issue...but still has NO solution for the other TOP ISSUES he has "TALKED" about this man is clueless and I am so very ASHAMED at OBAMA BIN LADEN!!!!!

    June 18, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Peggi

    If the Repulicans are so concerned about the private health insurers being driven out of business by a government-administered plan, perhaps they should encourage these same insurers to do something to lessen the anticipated 9% increase in health insurance costs to employers forecast for the coming year.

    9% is ghastly in the existing time and economy!

    June 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. SLM

    Keep on working, there are lot of revisions needed to clean up the mess they are working on!! Take your time and do it right!!

    June 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. wlou437

    Some doctors are leaving the profession because of the high cost of liability insurance and the issues dealing with Medicare and Medicad.
    What is Congress developed a new health plan and no doctors would sign up to accept it?
    We already have a shortage of doctors and nurses. The plan needs to insure we don't lose any more because the reimbusemeent is not enough or there is too much paper work.

    June 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. girlymen love the GOP

    President Obama will crush the rightwing extremists just like that fly the other day.We will win this for all freedom loving Americans that need health care.

    June 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. citizenjane

    I disagree with President Obama that Health Care reform must be done expeditiously. This is a huge undertaking and must be well planned to succeed. There is too great a danger that if done hastily, it might fail.

    June 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. dreamer

    To all our represetives.PLEASE fix health care for EVERYONE and not just folk's who can afford the best.Insurance is the biggest scam(save nobid contracts)this country has to deal with.Please please make health care affordable and attanable by all and put aside some of of those devisions of polital parties,We all need this to happen for the health and safty of the country.It will be a good thing to be an america with no health care holes to slip through.We can't afford privitized health care in this country anymore it's too expensive and costs are so out of control.so please please fix this mess and put the other stuff off tell the ellectioin cycle.thx dreamer

    June 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Dan, NY

    Barack Obama has destroyed our economy, he has nationalized everything. Now he wants to destroy our health care system. I wish Barack Obama could stay in Uk or Canada for six months to see what is going on.

    June 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    I sure hope there's going to be some ideas in there on how to dramatically increase the number of primary care and geriatric physicians that we're going to need.

    Anyone on the committee got the stones to at least admit the problem?

    June 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Melissa

    You mean it isn't going to just be tax breaks for the rich like they WERE promoting? Better to have national health care than anything the Republicans have been coming up with.

    Obama has been helping alot. No matter how much the Republican haters want to think otherwise. He's doing his job. Taking care of his people. Something the selfish Republicans could care less about.

    June 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    HOW STUPID CAN THE GOP GET...? Here's your answer:

    10:21 AM ET - Just what Ahmadinejad wanted. Via Adam Blickstein.

    Rep. Pence and Republican Leaders to Hold Press Conference Supporting Iranian Dissidents

    Thursday, June 18th, 2009
    1:45 p.m.
    House Radio/TV Gallery, H-321, The Capitol

    [Info is from HuffPost Live Blog of the situation in Iran]

    June 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Randolph Carter

    Dan,NY wrote: Barack Obama has destroyed our economy, he has nationalized everything. Now he wants to destroy our health care system. I wish Barack Obama could stay in Uk or Canada for six months to see what is going on.

    Settle down Sparky. I think the economy was pretty well destroyed before he took office. He's doing what needs to be done to get things right again and make sure we can compete in the 21st century. Have a nice day!

    June 18, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Trang

    If there's no public option, I ain't buying. I probably will not see a doctor for the rest of my life, and when it's time for me to go, I go, no extension of life necessary. Heck, give the public option, and maybe many people will buy into it. In a way, the public option is a non-profit option. My money aint' going to private health insurers who's after profit ... and I have received many offers. Have a public option, then you can get my money.

    June 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Randolph Carter

    Fair is fair wrote: I sure hope there's going to be some ideas in there on how to dramatically increase the number of primary care and geriatric physicians that we're going to need.
    Anyone on the committee got the stones to at least admit the problem?

    Yeah, all hell is going to break loose as the boomers start to retire, age and die. Good time to get your nursing license. Have a nice day!

    June 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. eddie123

    National Health care does not work. If you have been in Flordia in the winter months, see all the persons from Canada that have policies here in the U.S. to get health care. Persons who have paid their taxes get the short end of the health care, just ask all those who go to Flordia from Canada. Obama and Nationalize this health care and auto makers ect and you have socialism and look at Cuba and what a mess there. Socialism ,take the country by nationalizing everything, just take way the congress as Obama is trying to do by the nine persons to spend trillions of tax dollars and congress has no say per Obama.

    June 18, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Veronica

    I am all for a public option, in addition to the private insurance option.

    I mean, isn't it the GOP that likes 'healthy competition in the marketplace"?. What's wrong with giving the private citizen the option to choose what plans works best for them and their families? Is the GOP afraid that the public option will surpass what the private option has to offer?

    As usual, typical whining from the Party of No Ideas, No Solutions. Oh, and a four page 'plan' which doesn't reflect costs does not a plan make ...

    June 18, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Jo

    Dan, NY please do some of us a favor and move to UK or Canada. You people are not thinking about the elderly people who pay more for their medicine and doctor bills. If you would look at how rich Medicaid is getting off the nursing home people you would shut your mouth. I think we should start paying less for health care and get everyone on board and cut the cost.

    June 18, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. barbara

    If 85% of America has health care insurance, where exactly is the crisis? Where is the urgent need? Again, pandering to the few on the backs of the majority. I ask for the millionesth time,...why would you want to tear the whole house down and start over with rebuilding when all you need to do is make a few simple repairs? why does obama and the dems insist on rebuilding the whole country when only a few things need to be reformed? why do we allow it?

    June 18, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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