One thing is certain about the direction of national health care reform: It's constantly changing.
Only weeks ago, a government takeover of the nation's health care system seemed all but inevitable. The question wasn't whether Congress would adopt a public option (a government health care program to compete with private-sector plans) but rather how much of a public option would be in the final mix.
But then the public spoke out in town hall meetings across the country, where people sounded off against a government takeover of health care. That caused President Obama to recast his vision of health care reform, opening the door to legislation without the public option. Senator Max Baucus, one of the original architects of the modern health care reform movement, also unveiled a retooled health care reform plan without a public option.
However, the U.S. House Democratic Caucus insisted that any health care reform must have a public option component, even as that likelihood now seems much more remote.
All the while, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been leading the charge for “responsible health care reform” that will bring down health care costs, improve quality and increase access—without greater government intrusion.
With the one certainty that change is constant, what seems definite in the health care battle today could be lost in the shuffle tomorrow. At the moment, though, here are the basic components of the House and Senate (Baucus) versions of health care reform bills.
While there is some overlap between the House and Senate (Baucus) versions of health care reform bills , the final measure will come from negotiations to reconcile the differences. Meanwhile, talk persists that the Democratic majority will push for some form of health care reform legislation before the end of the year.
CBIA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups will continue to advocate for responsible health care reform that's affordable and that doesn't hand over even more control to the government.