From Alliance for Retired Americans:
U.S. House is Close to Unveiling Its Health Care Plan
The U.S. House is expected to release its health care reform plan on Monday. However, Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), the chairman of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs’ health care task force, warned House leadership in a Thursday night meeting that the vast majority of the group could not support the current House health care reform bill unless major changes are made. The most contentious element is reportedly a public plan option based on existing Medicare reimbursement rates - rates that Rep. Ross says have driven three of the six doctors out of his hometown. According to the publication Roll Call, forty Blue Dogs signed a two-page letter listing a series of demands, including increased aid to rural areas, more cost-cutting, and protections for small businesses. House Democrats have focused on a surtax on the wealthy in order to pay for reform. Together with hospitals' and drug makers' concessions of subsidies of $155 billion and $80 billion, respectively, a tax on the wealthy could help the system pay for itself. "The good news is that the public plan option is moving forward in the House," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.