It's Official: House Won't Vote on Health Reform Before Break

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , July 29, 2009

After more than a week's delay, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said it is continuing consideration of the Tri-Committee healthcare reform bill (H.R. 3200) on Wednesday afternoon after reaching an agreement with the conservative Democrat group, the Blue Dogs, to trim $100 billion from the bill.

An agreement also was reached not to seek a full House vote on the bill prior to the beginning of the summer recess, which begins July 31.

The deal is expected to cut $100 billion from the $1 trillion cost of the legislation by moving away from using Medicare reimbursement rates to pay providers, which the group had said would pay rural hospitals disproportionately lower rates when compared to urban areas.

The deal is also contingent on the provision that no final vote on the House floor would take place until September. Four of the seven Democratic with the Blue Dog coalition agreed with the deal, which would give Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) enough votes to pass the bill from his committee. Energy and Commerce was the only committee that has not completed mark-up of the bill.

Health reform plan under $900 billion

On the Senate side, the Finance Committee has received news from the Congressional Budget Office that its current draft bill would cost under $900 billion over the next 10 years, while extending insurance coverage to 95% of legal U.S. residents by 2015.

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