Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Step - and On To the Next

Well, the next step has been taken. The Senate Finance Committee has voted out its health reform bill.

While this has gotten a lot of attention, I don’t really think it the significant step that the media makes it out to be. Certainly, it is interesting in that it managed to get a vote from a Republican senator, after involving three in the process of writing it. However, this is not the final bill, nor even the final Senate bill. There is another bill in the Senate, from the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (the HELP Committee – no kidding!). There will be negotiations to blend these two bills, and that will become the Senate bill.

And then there is the House bill – and in fact there are three of those. HR 3200 has gotten a lot of attention, but it will have to be blended with two others to produce the House bill.

And finally there will be a Conference Committee. The bill produced by the Conference Committee and passed in both Houses in the same form will be the bill that gets to the President’s desk (see, I did pay attention to “Schoolhouse Rock”).

So, keep watching, siblings; and keep writing to your senators and representatives. This isn’t over until it’s over (and, really, it won’t be over until we see it implemented). Keep watching.


Amy said...

The insurance industry will always be greedy, hopefully the health care reform will help people that need it.

Marshall said...

Well, Amy, to some extent it's like the story of the frog and the scorpion: it's in their nature. Insurance companies are for-profit. They want to present themselves as public service agencies; and when we need them we appreciate good service. However, public service per se is not their business. Their business is profit, and they have structured their business to optimize, and sometimes maximize, the profit.

If we want health care reimbursement to be handled as a public service, we need to trust it to public servants. Until we're prepared to do that, we're paying the premium that pays the shareholders.