House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the House would not draft a Medicare bill as originally planned, shifting the onus instead to the Senate to parcel together a physician pay fix and extend funding for a popular childrens health program.
The move is an apparent reversal from the speakers original legislative roadmap. Just earlier this week Pelosi said that the House could potentially vote on a Medicare bill by weeks end.
The unusual turn of events was announced at the speakers weekly press conference and comes on the heels of a contentious week that saw many House democrats try – and fail – to attach a number of Medicare provisions to already existing legislation.
We will not be originating a Medicare bill in the House, Pelosi told reporters, adding that it had essentially done so earlier this year as part of a broader bill to reauthorize and expand the State Childrens Health Insurance Program. We sent it a long time ago. It is an ambitious legislation, which, again, we will see parts of it emerge over a period of time.
Pelosi said that the House had sent some provisions that were earmarked in the House-passed Childrens Health and Medicare Protections Act, or CHAMP, to the Senate, but that ultimately it would be up to the Senate Finance Committee to pull the rest of the legislation into order. But whatever they add, this will have to originate in the Senate because, as I say, we have already made our statement. Its called the CHAMP Act.
An aide to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said that the senator is working to finalize a bill now and called on the House to take it up and pass it expeditiously. -- by Matthew DoBias
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