House Democrats said they were concerned that they could lose tough-fought ground on abortion, taxes, immigration and Medicaid funding as party leaders from both congressional chambers negotiate a final overhaul bill.
House Democrats fear loss on key reform issues
“Members were asking us about the specifics of the bill, provisions they were interested in, things they’re constituents have asked them about,” Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), one of the authors of the House’s reform package, said after a 90 minute conference call with Democratic lawmakers.
Leaders from the House and Senate are in the throes of melding two similar bills that aim to reshape the healthcare sector—but in some areas widely different ways.
Differences in the way the House and Senate plan to pay for the bill, expand coverage and restructure the insurance sector have hounded negotiations among party leaders for most of the week. Top Democrats in the Senate have already warned that there is little wiggle room in negotiations on their side, threatening many House-favored measures.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) assured members that the final bill would be a negotiated product, according to an aide who attended the meeting.
Concerns over a tax on high-value health plans surfaced, with one member saying that insurance plans that have overly high premiums but don’t have the added benefits of the so-called Cadillac Plans plans could get hit. Both President Barack Obama and Senate leaders have championed the tax even though House Democrats strongly oppose it.
Democrats will meet again Tuesday for further discussions and are expected to get further directions from Obama later in the week.
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