As thousands of HR professionals travel to the “Big Easy” for SHRM’s 61st Annual Conference & Exposition, Congress is finding there is nothing “easy” about health care reform.
Significant health reform news since the last edition of HR Issues Update includes:
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Democratic leaders of three committees unveiled an 815-page "Tri-Committee Health Reform Discussion Draft." The proposal includes both individual and employer mandates, a public plan option, and a price tag of more than $1.5 trillion. Numerous groups have already criticized the bill for being too radical, too ambitious and too expensive.
In the U.S. Senate, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee continued consideration of the 615-page “Affordable Health Choices Act.” Debate on this proposal was often contentious, as Republicans complained that portions of the bill were incomplete and cost estimates were unavailable. Committee members have filed hundreds of amendments to the bill, which means the committee is likely to be working on the bill after the July 4th congressional recess.
Also in the Senate, the Senate Finance Committee had planned to release its health care reform bill this week. However, the Committee’s Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) scraped that plan after the initial price tag for the bill was estimated to total $1.6 trillion over the next decade. Given that cost estimate, Chairman Baucus and members of the committee opted to forgo formally releasing their proposal and instead are focusing on ways to lower the overall cost.
Committee action on health care reform in the House and Senate will continue behind-the-scenes during and after the July 4th congressional recess.
If you want to learn more about how health reform proposals could impact you and your organization, sign up for SHRM’s health care reform webcast today.