More than half of the House's Democrats Tuesday signed a letter expressing opposition to a key element of the Senate Finance Committee's health overhaul -- the proposal to tax expensive health insurance plans.
Politico: "The plan, sometimes cast as a tax on 'Cadillac' plans, would in fact include the health care plans of many public employees and union members and has triggered a revolt from Obama's labor supporters and their many allies on the Hill." The letter, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was signed by 154 House Democrats and urged her "to reject proposals to enact an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans that could be potentially passed on to middle-class families."
The Senate Finance Committee proposal "would tax insurers, not the individual with the plan. ... Labor leaders say they hope the White House — which has taken a publicly neutral posture — will back the unions as the Senate and House negotiate a final bill" (Smith and O'Connor, 10/7).
Roll Call reports that the House will also begin preparations for moving a reform bill on the House floor by giving members options on how to proceed. "House Democrats still need to make decisions on the shape of a public insurance option likely to be included in the bill, how tightly to limit access to abortions, the refiguring of Medicare reimbursement rates and the final mix of cost cuts and tax increases to pay for the package" (Newmyer, 10/6).
CongressDaily reports that House lawmakers are also trying to extend dependent coverage for young adults so they may stay on their parents' insurance plans until they are 26. "The lawmakers have been soliciting colleagues to sign a letter to key House committee chairmen endorsing the proposal. They are arguing that the extension of benefits for dependents would keep young adults from falling through the cracks of the health insurance system during the transition from school into entry-level jobs that often do not offer health coverage" (Dann, 10/7).
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday that leadership is considering extending COBRA health benefits further, allowing people to keep their health insurance after they are laid off, Dow Jones Newswires/Nasdaq.com reports (Boles, 10/6).
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.