Thursday, August 2, 2007

House Passes Historic Vote for Seniors & Children

There were a lot of cheers in our office last night and celebrations today as families nationwide get the news of last night's House vote in support of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act. Incredibly is was still a largely partisan vote with most Republicans and a few conservative Democrats voting against it. Here's a link to the roll call vote and last night's reaction from our President/CEO, Barbara Kennelly.

“While everyone in Washington claims to care about seniors and children, tonight’s vote in the House forced members of Congress to prove it. A majority has chosen to return America’s healthcare priorities where they belong…on American families.

Government subsidies to private insurers providing Medicare Advantage have created a gaping hole that is draining the Medicare trust fund and imposing unfair costs on millions of beneficiaries across the nation. These outrageous overpayments were proposed by the insurance industry and passed into law by their allies in Congress, 4 years ago. That mistake was corrected in the House tonight.

By eliminating these government subsidies, private Medicare plans will have to compete on a level playing field with traditional Medicare. We’ve been told for decades industry can provide seniors cheaper and more efficient healthcare…this House bill gives insurers the chance to prove it.”

But the battle is far from over. The Senate's SCHIP legislation is still being debated on the floor and it does not include any of the House provisions to eliminate billions in government subsidies to private insurers. The Conference on these two very different bills will be very interesting indeed.

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