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American Bar Association

-Health Care Reform Task Force-

Health Care Reform Taskforce

Health Care Reform Task Force

Welcome to the Health Care Reform Task Force of the TIPS Section of the American Bar Association.

As with other important issues in the past, TIPS wants to help keep you informed about the Health Care reform proposals being discussed in both Houses of Congress. Because those various proposals contain provisions that if adopted will impact the current state of the law, TIPS formed a Task Force to provide its members with both information and access to information related to the evolving issues.

While the ABA has policies addressing some of the issues, many potential components of the bills have not been addressed by the ABA. If the ABA has a policy statement, it is summarized below. As the issues and bills develop, this Task Force will also consider potential proposals for ABA policy. For now, the TIPS Task Force will strive to provide you with balanced factual information related to the issues and consistent with our mission of bringing together attorneys representing all sides of the issues and industry, provide you access to links that present all perspectives. The Task Force welcomes all comments, and encourages TIPS members to contribute potential content and participate in the dialogue.

Please send your comments or contributions to: GBusby@burr.com or hughesj@staff.abanet.org

Task Force Update

Eastern District of Virginia Rules PPACA Coverage Mandate is Unconstitutional

Despite two prior rulings to the contrary, Judge Henry E. Hudson, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, today ruled that the mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance exceeds the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. Nationally, more than 20 similar lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Two earlier decisions, one in Virginia and one in Michigan, have upheld the constitutionality of the Act. The most well-known case, filed by 20 state attorneys general in Pensacola, Florida, is scheduled for oral argument this week.

Judge Rules GOVT Can't Rule Mandate Citizens Have Health Care
Judge Calls Health Law Unconstitutional

Provisions of the PPACA have become effective on September 23, 2010. There are Insurance Policy Coverage Changes. The Provisions include: Annual and Lifetime Limits, Rescissions, Preventive Health Services, Adult Dependent Coverage, Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Primary Care/Preapproval.

Learn more about the provisions of the PPACA


Three committees in the House and two in the Senate have been working on healthcare reform legislation. The Senate Finance Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions have each approved their own bill, as has all three committees in the House. The White House is pushing for something to be passed. While it is unclear what the specifics of any proposed legislation will be, most of the proposed changes would have a significant impact on the laws related to most health care issues.

The Senate Finance Committee worked throughout September to try to reach a bi-partisan proposal. The Committee began debating Senator Baucus' health care bill, "America's Healthy Futures Act of 2009," on September 22, 2009. The proposed bill requires people to obtain health insurance, but it reduces the penalties imposed on those people who choose not to obtain insurance. The opening statements of the 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans took over three hours to complete, and the members of the Committee offered 564 amendments to the proposed bill. The debate within the Senate Finance Committee ended on October 2, 2009, but voting on the proposal was delayed while the Congressional Budget Office reviewed the Senate Finance Committee's proposal.

On October 7, 2009, the Congressional Budget Office released a preliminary report that the Senate Finance Committee's proposed bill will cost $829 billion over the next 10 years, which is under the $900 billion target set by President Obama. The preliminary report also said that it would not add to the deficit and will save $81 billion over the next 10 years compared to current federal health care spending. However, the Congressional Budget Office's report stated that 25 million people (about 1/3 of the 25 million are illegal immigrants) would still be uninsured in 2019 under the Senate Finance Committee's proposal. Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee argue that the proposal contains too many new taxes to pay for the bill and will be a very expensive bill.

On October 11, 2009, AHIP released a study performed by Pricewaterhouse Coopers analyzing the Senate's Finance Committee's proposed bill. The study concluded that the proposed legislation would drive up costs to consumers. Specifically, the study projects the legislation would add $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013, and that premiums for a single person would go up by $600. The cost increases would result from new taxes and the weakening of the penalties imposed on those who choose not obtain health insurance coverage despite the mandate requiring them to obtain coverage.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill 14 to 9 on October 13, 2009. All 13 Democrats sitting on the Committee voted for the bill. Senator Olympia Snowe was the only Republican to vote for it. Now, the Senate Finance Committee's bill will be merged together with the bill approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Meanwhile, leaders in the House have been working to blend the three House bills into one bill. The House Democrats announced on October 8, 2009, that they have reduced a proposed surtax on the wealthiest Americans. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated, however, that she is considering a levy on health insurance profits. The House's bill will likely require all individuals to obtain insurance, and require employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty. The House proposal will also likely have a public option. Speaker Pelosi has said that she expects a final version soon, but has not provided a specific date. She has also indicated that she will wait for a cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before bringing any legislation to the floor for a vote.

    Baucus Opening     Americas Healthy Future Act
    Grassley               Congressional Budget Office
    Modifications to the
    Chairman's Mark


Below is a partial list of issues that the Task Force will attempt to provide content and information on as the legislation develops:

Proposed Bills, Information and Perspectives

Senate Help Bill July 15,2009

111th Congress-Health Care Reform - House Tri Committee, July 14, 2009

Kaiser Family Foundation - Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals

RAND - Debating the Future of U.S. Health Care

Committee on Energy and Commerce

TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama Speech - Joint Session of Congress
September 8, 2009

TRANSCRIPT: GOP Response to Obama's Health Care Address September 8, 2009

House Democarats Health Plan Diagram GOP - Response

John Boehner House Republican Leader Response

Carriers react to President's call for new mandates and taxes on their industry

ABA Policy Statement and Comment

August 2009

The ABA supported federal legislation that would ensure every American access to quality health care regardless of the personís income.

Office of Government Affairs - ABA Suppports Healthcare For All Americans
- August 2009

February 2006
The ABA passed a resolution reaffirming opposition to legislation that places a dollar limit on recoverable damages to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice action; recognizing damages in a medical malpractice case should not be subject to standardized schedules and opposing the creation of healthcare tribunals that would deny patients the right to request a trial by jury or the right to full compensation for their injuries

Task Force

Julie M McPeak (Chair)
Ginger Busby    (Past Chair)
Joshua Bachrach
Russell Buhite
Alan Gamse
Janet Kloenhammer
Jennifer Kops Wagner
Briana Montminy
Janice Mulligan
Robert Peck
Randi Whitehead

From the House



Legislative Update:

Saturday, by a 220-215 vote, the House approved legislation, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, as part of the current effort to pass health-care reform and change the existing health-care insurance system. Read More ...


From the Senate

Senate Votes 60 - 40 to End Debating Over the Health Care Bill

Senate Votes 60 - 40 to End Debating Over the Health Care Bill

At around 1 a.m. on December 21, 2009, all 58 Democrats and the 2 independents in the Senate voted unanimously to end the debate over the health care reform bill. The vote to end the debate was opposed by all 40 Republicans. In order to get the votes needed to end the debate, Senator Harry Reid cut numerous last minute deals. Read More ...

Senate Democrats Work Toward Getting 60 Votes

On December 8, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he and a group of 10 Democratic senators (i.e. the Gang of 10) had reached a "broad agreement" resolving the dispute over the public option. Read More ...

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