The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 28-22 to enable a package of additional amendments to be considered for inclusion in the America's Affordable Health Choices Act.
House panel moves forward on additional reform amendments
Included in this package was a series of “non-controversial” amendments offered by committee Democrats that garnered support from both parties on the panel. One amendment in particular calls on HHS to recruit more eligible providers to act as test sites in an effort to bulk up a payment bundling pilot program that's outlined in the bill.
How these amendments will be dealt with during the course of debate on the bill will ultimately be determined by the House Rules Committee.
Also approved was a bipartisan amendment that would direct states to establish laws requiring disclosure of information on hospital charges. The amendment, spearheaded by Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Texas lawmakers Joe Barton, Mike Burgess and Gene Green, would also require hospitals and health plans to make such information available to the public.
The meeting did not escape partisan rhetoric about the merits of the legislation. An attempt by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) to replace the bill with a GOP alternative was withdrawn after heated debate.
“No surgery on this bill” will make it acceptable to the American people, Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) said during negotiations, echoing other Republican sentiments that most people reject a public option plan and an individual mandate on insurance.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chairman of the panel’s health subcommittee, countered that his own constituents have shown “overwhelming” support of the bill, “and its goal, which is to establish affordable insurance” through a health insurance exchange, Pallone said.
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.