Senate Democrats Get Enough Votes To Keep Health Care Bill Alive, But Futher Revisions Needed on This Bill

It appears that the Democrats now have the sixty votes necessary to keep consideration of the health care reform bill alive. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is the 60th Senator to agree to at least keep the bill alive to debate it even though she says she doesn’t agree with everything in the bill and might not vote for the final bill.

The bill is far from perfect and hopefully there will be some changes made as the Senate debates the bill, followed by reconciliation with the House bill if the Senate bill does pass. My fear is that, to appease the conservatives, more of the benefits will be reduced while many of the negative aspects might remain.

As I wade through the legislation, beyond portions previously discussed, one item I’m concerned about is the power of the Medicare Advisory Board. Previously I heard proposals to make it more independent and to give Congress only an up or down vote on its proposals, similar to decisions on military base closures. The Senate bill goes far further than this. As Ronald Brownstein explains, “Under the Senate bill, that board would be required to offer cost-saving proposals when Medicare spending rises too fast; Congress could not reject its proposals without substituting equivalent savings.”

I fear this might provide too much power to an unelected group. It is one thing to give Congress an outright up or down vote. Putting restrictions on the ability of Congress to reject their recommendations might leave the Medicare Advisory Board in the position of too easily making decisions without meaningful Congressional oversight.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to this from both the right and the left.  This might be a proposal which conservatives who talk about cutting costs might support, but supporting it would contradict their earlier rhetoric on the subject. The stereotypical “big government” liberals might see increased bureaucratic control of Medicare as a good thing, or some might question if this might lead to inadequate spending on the elderly. Sarah Palin might even argue that we are at risk of the Medicare Advisory Board setting up death panels to cut costs with Congress would not be able to stop.

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  1. 1
    healthy says:

    » Senate Democrats Get Enough Votes To Keep Health Care Bill Alive …: It appears that the Democrats now have .. http://bit.ly/6GUsQ9

  2. 2
    healthy says:

    » Senate Democrats Get Enough Votes To Keep Health Care Bill Alive …: It appears that the Democrats now have .. http://bit.ly/6GUsQ9

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