The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee broke for the July recess without completing some of the key provisions of its wide-sweeping healthcare reform bill. Issues on coverage that had been left blank in the legislation are still being discussed, including a government-run public option and an employer mandate, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said. Several options on an employer "pay or play" mandate were released Wednesday and are being reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office.
Initial cost estimates on the long-term-care provisions of the bill were provided Thursday, yet Dodd decided to hold off on amending that section of the bill until after the recess, adding that the Joint Committee on Taxation hadn't yet finished reviewing the tax implications of this section. The CBO estimated the long-term-care provisions would save $59 billion over 10 years. Language on a public plan option could be released as early as next week, Dodd said.
Dodd seemed confident that his legislation "would be a significant contribution" to the overall healthcare debate. Committee members plan to reconvene on July 6 after the recess to finish the remaining sections of the bill.