Cost estimates on an employer mandate and other provisions of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees healthcare reform bill may not be available until after the July 4th recess, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) told reporters.
You might not see anything on the mandate until after the break, said Dodd, whos been filling in as committee chairman of the HELP panel. The panels majority Wednesday morning had released details on several employer-mandate options for the CBO to consider.
Dodd has repeatedly said he wont consider any section of the bill until the cost estimates are provided on that language.
Primary care became a bone of contention during negotiations on Wednesday, with Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the panels ranking member, arguing that the bill would provide fewer medical students with financial assistance in return for working in underserved areasresulting in fewer primary-care doctors.
Enzi specifically took issue with the idea that the bill would set student loan rates at 2 points lower than the current interest rate set for undergraduates. You have to strike the right balanceif you make the rates too low, there wont be enough money in the pot to finance loans for current students, and actually wind up with fewer students able to benefit from the programs, an Enzi aide explained.
Enzis amendment to undo this language was rejected after Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said the provisions would gut the section on primary-care training.
An amendment to set caps on medical malpractice damages specific to obstetrics/gynecologists in an effort to curb defensive medicine, was also thrown out.