Health Care Deal May or May Not Happen

Health Care Deal May or May Not Happen

Blue Dogs have problems with proposed health plan.

In the House Friday afternoon, despite claims of a significant breakthrough on health care, Representative Mike Ross, D-Ark., said there would be no deal between conservative Blue Dog Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee and panel Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. Earlier in the day Waxman had declared a breakthrough in resolving the issue of regional disparities in Medicare. Many members from rural areas say those rates are unfairly low and they have refused to endorse a bill that does not address the problem.

 

Chairman Waxman said early Friday he wanted to reach a deal with his Blue Dog members that would allow the committee to move forward with a markup and not vote with Republicans to eviscerate the legislation. He emphasized he would not allow them to turn over control of the committee to Republicans as they've threatened to do. Waxman said if he couldn't reach a deal that would hold panel Democrats in line behind a bill he might have to look at perhaps bypassing the committee.

 

Representative Joe Barton,R-Texas, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, predicted the rule for debate of the health overhaul would fail if the leadership were to take the bill directly to the floor. Under the deal outlined Friday by Waxman and others the Institute of Medicine would conduct an analysis of regional disparities in Medicare rates and then send its assessment to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would implement the study's recommendations.

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