Panel Nears Agreement on $1 Trillion Health Care Plan
Progress was made on the health care front last week, with Senate Finance Committee members reporting they were near agreement on a fully funded $1 trillion health care plan.
Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said that the cost of the 10-year bill would be partly offset by taxing some employer-sponsored health benefits and by cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending.
However, several critical issues remain unresolved, including whether to provide a government-run public plan or consumer-owned cooperative health plan. Senators are also weighing a mandate on businesses to provide health insurance.
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to resume work on its health plan after Congress returns from its week-long recess on July 6.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will also resume work on drafting its alternate health care measure at that time. Committee members spent last week working on their health care overhaul proposal, but the bill remains unfinished, primarily because senators have not received a price tag on several long-term provisions in the bill.
HELP members have still not clarified such key issues as a public plan and requiring employers to offer coverage or pay a penalty.
In the House, the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor committees held a slew of hearings last week as lawmakers set the stage for a legislative markup following the July 4 recess. Committee staff members are encouraging input to their current draft bill and NAHB is submitting written comments.
As details of the legislation unfold, NAHB will stand firm against employer mandates as well as changes to the current tax code that would impact the housing community.
For more information, e-mail Erin Tario at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8413.