After on-and-off deliberations, Congress again is moving ahead on health care reform. The House Energy & Commerce Committee resumed markup of HR 3200, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, a week-long delay due to negotiations to obtain votes of the conservative Democrats (Blue Dogs) on the Committee, according to a statement released by the American Physical Therapy Association, Alexandria, Va.

The deal made by Chair Henry Waxman (D-Calif) to the Blue Dogs was backed by House leaders and the White House, says the statement. It included cutting more than $100 billion from the bill, preventing a new public option from using Medicare rates to reimburse providers, and exempting small businesses with a payroll of less than $500,000 from a new employer mandate, among other changes. The deal quickly angered some of the liberal members and further discussions were then held before the Energy & Commerce Committee could go forward on marking up the legislation, says the statement. Passage of the bill out of the committee is expected to be the House’s final action on health-care legislation before legislators leave for a 5-week recess, according to the statement.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) has announced that partisan discussions had broken down and that his committee would not be marking up a bill before the August district work period. However, they will continue the discussions to find a bipartisan agreement, according to the statement.

For more information on reform, click here to visit APTAs Health Care Reform Resource Center. The Web page, which includes the association’s latest actions related to reform, is updated regularly as new information is available.

[Source: APTA]