The Critical Vote Could Occur Next Week
For the past year Congress has debated comprehensive health care reform. Three committees in the House and two committees in the Senate adopted significant reform measures. The House passed their bill last November, and the Senate adopted their reforms in December with a super majority vote. The President has held day long televised discussions that were both bipartisan and bicameral. After all this discussion, it is time to pass comprehensive health care reform this month. Here's what WVAHC believes will happen.
Later this week the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan office that "scores" legislative proposals, will release their cost projections for the compromise between the House and Senate versions of health care reform. This compromise will have the support of the House and Senate leadership and the President. The compromise will make premiums for moderate and middle-income families more affordable than the Senate version, and strip out the sweetheart deal for Nebraska and other states.
After this compromise is reached and as early as next week, the House will vote on whether to pass the Senate bill. If they do, this historic legislation will go directly to the President for his signature. This bill will:
If the House passes the Senate bill -- and the House vote on the Senate bill will be the critical vote -- the House will then consider adopting a second, and much more limited, bill modifying the Senate bill through a parliamentary procedure know as budget reconciliation. This procedure can only be used to reconcile budgetary items in the health care reform measure. In addition to the repeal of the Nebraska sweetheart deal, items to be included in the budget reconciliation bill likely will include: eliminating over time the doughnut hole for Medicare retirees, strengthening federal oversight of insurance company excessive premium increases, increasing the threshold for the excise tax on the most expensive health insurance plans, and greater efforts to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.
If the House adopts the budget reconciliation proposal, it will go to the Senate. Republicans can offer endless amendments, but these amendments will be to the clean-up bill and not the major health care reform measures, which will already be passed. Passage of the budget reconciliation bill will be simple majority and not the 60 vote super majority required to overcome a Republican filibuster. If adopted by a majority of Senators, this clean-up bill will go to the President for his signature.
The fake “League of American Voters” is airing TV ads blasting both Congressmen for their support of Health Reform and asking folks to call them to vote against it!
Let our Congressmen know the public is behind them!
Additionally, Congressman Mollohan has offices in Morgantown (304-292-3019), Parkersburg (304-428-0493), Wheeling (304-232-5390) and Clarksburg (304-623-4422).
Congressman Rahall has offices in Beckley (304-252-5000), Bluefield (304-425-6222), Huntington (304-522-6425) and Logan (304-752-4934).
Please take time to contact these Representatives and urge them to vote for comprehensive health care reform. Thanks.
Finally, Senator Robert C. Byrd recently had an excellent op ed piece on the budget reconciliation process in the Daily Mail. You can read the op ed here.