Current Status of Health Care Reform Proposals
Status of Health Care Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives:
There are three House committees that have jurisdiction over Health Care reform: the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees. All three Committees came together to create and release a discussion draft in early June. Each of the three committees immediately held independent hearings on the draft (ANA testified before two of the three –Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means). Following these hearings, formal Legislation, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” (H.R. 3200) was introduced on July 14th.
In July, each of the three committees considered portions of H.R. 3200 that fell within their jurisdiction, made amendments (aka “marked-up”), and successfully voted, largely along party lines, to move the bill out of committee. Over the course of several months, the pieces of the bill that each committee considered and amended were reintegrated back into one comprehensive piece of legislation. The bill was given a new number (H.R.3692) and was released on October 29th. On November 7th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3692 by a vote of 220-215. The bill passed with 39 Democrats voting in opposition and one Republican, Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana, voting in favor. Click here to see how your Member voted.
See “Final Steps.”
Status of Health Care reform in the Senate:
There are two Senate committees that have jurisdiction over health care reform: the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and the Finance Committee. The HELP Committee released language for its draft, the “Affordable Health Choices Act” (S. 1679) on June 9th, and considered amendments to the bill over the course of 11 days in June. After approving 36 Democratic amendments and 161 Republican amendments, the bill was approved by the committee with a party-line vote on July 15th.
The Finance Committee released its health care reform proposal “America’s Healthy Future Act” (S.1796) on September 16, and began consideration of 564 amendments on September 22nd. The committee completed consideration of amendments on October 2nd, and the bill was approved with the support of all committee Democrats and one Republican – Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine—on October 13th.
On November 18th, Senate Majority Leader Reid released the combined version of the Senate bills – H.R. 3590, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” On November 20th, the Senate voted on a party line (with the two Independents voting in favor) to proceed with debate on the health care reform bill.
Debate is scheduled to begin on the Senate health care reform bill the week of November 30th. While there is no firm timeline, Senate leadership still hopes for a vote on the bill before the holiday recess.
Once both the House and Senate have approved their legislation, conference committee negotiations would begin to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions. The final, conference bill would need to be approved by both the House and the Senate and sent to the President for signature. House and Senate Leadership and the President hope to complete this process and have something signed into law by the end of the year, with some more optimistic predictions of completion before Thanksgiving.