-Health Care Reform Task Force-
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.
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,
THE HEALTH CARE PROPOSALS:
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.
Below is a partial list of issues that the Task Force will attempt to provide content and information on as the legislation develops:
- Medical Malpractice Reform including federal caps on
- Safe Harbors from litigation when a physician follows medically
- A federal legal standard for decisions related to the Rescission of an Insurance Contract.
- Proposed changes to ERISA legislation
- Health Courts
- The applicability or availability of pre-existing condition
- Issues related to Portability of insurance coverage to a
new employer without a lapse in coverage caused by
"new employee waiting periods"..
- The affordability and length of the term of COBRA coverage
- Constitutional Issues related to Individual Mandates, Penalties,
exemptions and Employer Contributions
- Defining Minimum Benefits
- Multi-step required procedures for obtaining medical care.
- HIPAA issues related to sharing patients medical records and
test results timely and electronically.
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
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
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
Ginger Busby (Past Chair)
Jennifer Kops Wagner
From the House
HOUSE APPROVES HEALTH CARE INSURANCE SYSTEM, BY A 220-215 VOTE.
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
Read More ...
HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION GOING TO FLOORS OF BOTH HOUSES
From the Senate
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 ...
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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