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Categorized | Legislation, Reform

Still Going for Gold

In hopes of moving health care reform, President Obama has taken a more active role in the debate. Earlier this week, the President released his proposal for reform, which is mostly additive to or revisionist of the Senate bill. The President included several fraud and abuse provisions that were included in H.R. 3970, the “Medical Rights and Reform Act,” or H.R. 3400, the “Empowering Patients First Act.”

On Thursday, President Obama is convening a bipartisan summit with a goal of identifying compromises that will help to move health care reform legislation forward. Senate Republican Leadership has expressed disappointment in the President’s unwillingness to scrap the current health care reform bills and have suggested that an incremental approach to reform is more appropriate than comprehensive reform. The summit does not change the procedural options for moving reform legislation. Congress has two options: either move incremental reform bills or use reconciliation to pass comprehensive reform. President Obama will use the summit to build support for passage of health care reform, even if by reconciliation.

At this point, we expect Congress to move several health care provisions separate from health care reform, including a physician fee fix, repeal of the insurance antitrust exemption, and a package of health extenders and use reconciliation to pass comprehensive reform.