I am sure you noticed, I certainly have, that healthcare has fallen off the top of the news cycle. In fact, it’s almost getting difficult to find any news articles with updates on where the country stands with healthcare reform. I have to admit, I have enjoyed the break.
Let me get a few pieces of important information out on healthcare reform. A recent poll just released in the NY Times last week shows more than 50% of this country still supports President Obama on healthcare reform. However, the same poll shows this same majority does not understand the issues or how reform will impact them in the future. These poll results should not be surprising to anyone. Healthcare reform is very complicated. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces and if you are missing some, the puzzle does not fit together. That is why I have always said, start smaller (pick a small puzzle with bigger and few pieces) to put together. Once we figure out how it works, we can move on and tackle the larger issues in healthcare reform.
So here is where we are today. The Senate Finance Committee is putting their bill out to vote. Once all members of the Committee approve or disapprove the bill, it will be reconciled with the other Senate bill on healthcare, education, labor and pensions (HELP) to create one bill. The HELP bill is slightly more “liberal” and there will be plenty of discussion on the final Senate bill before a joint bill is released. President Obama needs to make sure he gets enough votes in the Senate to come out with a bill that is supported by Congress and America. The next few days and weeks are critical.
Once this happens, the Senate Bill will be reconciled with the House bill. This is where, in my opinion, it is going to be tough. The House Bill is more expensive and has a public option a.k.a government run health plan to co-exist along with the current private health plan industry. The Senate bill will be less expensive, assuming it stays close to the Finance Committee’s current version, and it does not include a government insurance option. The Democrats in the house are going to have to bend to make something happen. If they stick to their current legislation, I am fairly certain reform will fail. More to follow as the bills get reconciled.