Democratic Leaders in the House of Representatives plan to hammer out differences three versions of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200) as separately passed by three key House Committees in July before House members return from their August recess in hopes of bringing the agreed to version of H.R. 3200 to the full house in September. Each version of H.R. 3200 would impose significant new obligations, regulations and costs on employers, health insurers and health plans, and employees.
After negotiating a last minute pre-August recess deal with certain Blue Dog Democrat Committee members, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 31, 2009 passed its version of H.R. 3200, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200). The version of H.R. 3200 passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee incorporates a series of amendments to the language of H.R. 3200 as originally introduced. For instance, this version of H.R. 3200 provides incentives for states to adopt certain tort reforms, provides for a public plan option that would reimburse physicians based on negotiated rates rather Medicare rates, and would allow states to offer both state-based heath insurance exchanges and health insurance co-ops. To review H.R. 3200 as amended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, see here.
The approval by the Energy and Commerce Committee of its version of H.R. 3200 follows the July 17, 2009 approval by the House Ways and Means Committee and Education and Labor Committee of their own versions of H.R. 3200. For details on the version of H.R. 3200 approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, see here. For details on the version of H.R. 3200 approved by the House Education and Labor Committee, see here.
Leading House Democrats have announced their intention to work to resolve differences between these three versions of H.R. 3200 as passed by these Committees during August recess in hopes of bringing the agreed to version of H.R. 3200 to a vote of the full House of Representatives in September.
Meanwhile, House members from both parties also generally are using the August recess as an opportunity to reconnect with local constituents on health care reform and other core issues.
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The author of this article, Curran Tomko and Tarski LLP Partner Cynthia Marcotte Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting employers and other health plan sponsors, insurers and others about health benefit and other benefits, human resources and health care matters. The current Chair of the American Bar Association Real Propoerty, Probate & Trust Section Employee Benefit Plans and Other Compensation Committee and former Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Group, she regularly advises these and other clients about the design, administration, defense and regulation of health benefit, wellness and disease management, managed care, onsight wellness, and other benefit and insurance regulations, legislative and regulatory reforms impacting these and other arrangements, and related matters.
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