Below are just some of the headlines:
Senate Finance Committee Dropping Dem Health Goals
DAVID ESPO | 07/27/09 11:11 PM | post - Senate Finance Committee Dropping Dem Health Goals: AP
WASHINGTON — On the agenda is the revamping of the American health care system, possibly the most complex legislation in modern history. But on the table, in a conference room where the bill is being hashed out by six senators, the snacks are anything but healthy. . .
The fate of the health care overhaul largely rests on the shoulders of six senators who since June 17 have gathered — often twice a day, and for many hours at a stretch — in a conference room with burnt sienna walls, in the office of the Senate Finance Committee chairman, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana. . .
Already, the group of six has tossed aside the idea of a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, which the president supports but Republicans said was a deal-breaker.
Instead, they are proposing a network of private, nonprofit cooperatives.
They have also dismissed the House Democratic plan to pay for the bill’s roughly $1 trillion, 10-year cost partly with an income surtax on high earners.
The three Republicans have insisted that any new taxes come from within the health care arena. As one option, Democrats have proposed taxing high-end insurance plans with values exceeding $25,000.
The Senate group also seems prepared to drop a requirement, included in other versions of the legislation, that employers offer coverage to their workers. “We don’t mandate employer coverage,” Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine and one of the six, said Monday. Employers that do not offer coverage may instead have to pay the cost of any government subsidies for which their workers qualify. In the House, centrist Democrats have temporarily stalled the health care bill, many lawmakers want to see what Mr. Baucus’s group produces before voting on tax increases in the House bill. . .
By CARL HULSE and ROBERT PEAR
Senators Progress as House Delays Again on Health Bill
...The average employer-sponsored insurance plan has a premium of about $5,000 for individual coverage and $13,000 for family coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. . .
Obama's top domestic priority has suffered numerous setbacks in recent weeks, and Republicans have stepped up their criticism. A Senate vote has been postponed until September. Administration and Democratic leaders hope to show significant progress before lawmakers begin their monthlong recess in hopes of regaining momentum.
In the House, the leadership sought to allay concerns among the rank and file. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "We're on schedule to do it now or do it whenever," when asked whether the House would complete its bill before lawmakers leave at the end of the week for their summer break. . .
I do not pretend to understand the ins and outs of such a complex bill. But we need health care reform. I make a pretty damn good living and I do have an employee sponsored plan that costs me, out of pocket, $8400 and my employer another $5,000.00. I remember when self-insurance plan for a "family" of four, in the state of California, was about $400 per month, total. That was in 1997, just before we moved to N.H. Since then, the escalation of health insurance and medical bills has sky rocketed and most of us, without employer sponsored plans, cannot afford it. As soon as my sons turn 24, they are off my family plan. No way will they be able to pay for health insurance.
Why are these meetings "secretive"?
Why should "large businesses" like Wal Mart, etc not have to "offer coverage to their employees"?
"Private, non-profit cooperatives" competing with large insurers sounds like a red flag to me. There are plenty of so-called non-profit companies who manage to not only control pricing but also operate under the auspices of for-profit companies. I know this because my husband was employed by one such company and I happen to volunteer on a non-profit arm of our for-profit chamber of commerce.
There is no doubt, the complexities of such an undertaking should be thoroughly worked out. We don't want another TARP piece of legislation hastily put through the Congress and Senate and then realize it has more holes than Swiss cheese. I do, however, feel a Congressional recess/vacation, etc., should be postponed til this is ironed out. Nancy Pelosi's cavalier comment "to do it now or whenever" doesn't cut it. These are the same folks who have fantastic, "gold-plated health care" as I believe our President put it the other night.
We're the ones who elected them. We are the ones who should be front and center to put the pressure on to get this done publicly with the full knowledge and understanding of the issues contained therein.
Here are some petition sites to click and sign & have sent to your congressman or woman:http://pol.moveon.org/thisyear/