From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog (7/30/09)
By Jacob Goldstein
For the moment, anyway, the health-overhaul narrative out of Washington is that the congressional logjam may be breaking up, with things starting to flow again.
The big House bill has been stuck in the Energy and Commerce Committee. But a deal is afoot there, with liberal Dems agreeing to modify the bill to make it more acceptable to the Blue Dog Democrats. One change: exempting more small businesses from the requirement to offer insurance or pay a fee. Also under the deal, payments to doctors and hospitals under a new, government-backed insurance plan wouldn’t be pegged to Medicare rates, as they were in the original bill.
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Max Baucus said the bill the Finance Committee is working on would cover 95% of Americans at a cost of less than $900 billion over a decade, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. Of course, the bill still hasn’t been made public, so the news from Baucus is little more than a hint. But the Senate Finance bill is what everyone’s been waiting for, so even a hint is worth a mention.