Thursday, December 24, 2009

Senate passes health care bill 60-39 Christmas Eve

The Senate passed its health care bill early Christmas Eve morning (maybe with Rimsky-Korsakov's "Christmas Eve Suite" playing in the background), 60-39 (yes, it sounds like a high-scoring football game). But many of the provisions, such as protecting consumers from discrimination over pre-existing conditions and rescissions , don’t go into effect until 2014.

Congress can work hard during the Christmas holidays, it seems.

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The differences with the House bill have to be worked out in committee. They are considerable.

I’ve wondered how the bill would affect people who hire people, such as caregivers, in their homes.

Update: Dec. 25

The Washington Post has a comparison chart of the Senate v. House bills, link here.

A few provisions would be available quickly, such as state high-risk pools to provide insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and tax credits for small businesses to purchase coverage for workers. In six months, deductibles for many coverages would be dropped, and insurance companies could no longer cancel policies with rescissions. Some of the mandatory provisions with exchanges would not go into effect until 2014, however.

Update: Dec. 27

The New York Times has a major editorial "The Next Step on Health Reform" with big dot-point comparisons of House and Senate versions, here.

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