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WASHINGTON BEAT The 111th Congress and Health Care Reform Don Lavanty President Obama has made health care reform his had acted on legislation to be reported to the full domestic legislative priority. He has asked the Senate and full House of Representatives, respectfully. Congress to pass legislation that would extend health insurance coverage to the uninsured and In the Senate, the HELP Committee reported a underinsured, and enhance coverage for Medicaid health care reform bill to the full Senate that would and children’s health care. In his request to Congress, require everyone to have health insurance, have a he also asked that the costs necessary to pay for the public program established for those who could not universal coverage be borne by savings in current afford health insurance and whose employers did not health care programs expenditures, and where and if provide coverage. The bill also recommended several appropriate, by raising revenues. changes to the health care work force, with an emphasis on primary care and prevention. The The process began in earnest in the late spring with reported bill, however, contained no provisions for all five committees of jurisdiction holding hearings. savings or revenues to pay for the cost of extending Those Committees were in the Senate: The coverage as their committee does not have jurisdiction Committee on Health, Education, Labor and over the Medicare Program or the tax code (should Pensions (HELP) which was chaired by the late Tax Code be capitalized? I don’t think so). Senator Kennedy, and The Senate Finance Jurisdiction for Medicare and taxes rest with the Committee, chaired by Senator Bacaus. In the U. S. Senate Finance Committee. The Finance Committee House of Representatives the three committees were: has yet to mark up legislation, although at press time the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by they indicated that they would do so by mid- Mr. Rangel of New
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