(very) Quick Health Care Update

So I’m taking a summer class called “Congressional Commitees”, which as you can imagine is pretty useful and relevant to our work at Carrots & Sticks.  My first assignment, due tomorrow evening, is to figure out which House commitees will be handling the aspect of health reform that deals with covering the uninsured. I did a little internet sleuthing and asked some legislative folks at work, and here’s what I found:

  • Obama, Pelosi, Hoyer and the 3 committee chairs with jurisiction (Rangel, Waxman and Miller) met a couple weeks ago and announced that they expect to have a full bill through the House by the end of July.
  • So far, it seems like the 3 committees (Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce and, to a lesser extent, Education & Labor) will work together and mark up the same bill at roughly the same time.
  • The timetable for rolling out a concrete proposal is uncertain, but should happen within the next week or two.
  • The proposal will include a strong public option.
  • Ways & Means will have to work on both the Energy/Climate bill and the Health bill during the summer, but Rangel has stated Health will come first.
  • It’s unclear whether any subcommittees will be marking up the bill before the full committees get a look. The most likely bet, if any, is the Health Subcommittee of Energy & Commerce under Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Pallone should be a solid ally, but that doesn’t mean leadership wants to deal with any more veto points than necessary.
  • The Blue Dogs are already hemming and hawing about the early process not letting them gum up the works before a concrete proposal even emerges.
  • The Senate is still too early to read. Although Kennedy’s HELP committee will mark up a bill pretty soon, the power is all in Baucus’ hands at the moment, and that ain’t necessarily a good thing. He may just wait for the House to finish, which also ain’t necessarily a good thing.

-Jeremy

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