By virtue of an ambitious Holiday push from US Senate leaders, as of Christmas Eve, both the House and the Senate have passed their versions of healthcare reform. Not surprisingly, the two bills are quite similar. There is sufficient disparity between the two – particularly regarding the much-debated “public option” –to warrant debate in Congress. (read House bill here, passed 220-215, and Senate bill here, passed with 60 votes)
Moving forward in 2010, the bills will go to committee for discussion and debate at which point majority leadership will create one cohesive bill. This bill will have to pass both houses to become the largest overhaul of healthcare in a generation; we expect to see a lot of political theatrics before any vote take place.
The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the New York Times have all recently reported that the GOP will fervently raise concerns about the rising costs and government overreach into the private healthcare industry.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats will expectedly push forward with highlights of the positive attributes of the bill as they see them, particularly both bills’ guarantee to provide all Americans with access to affordable health coverage.
Expect infighting among the Congressional majority leadership – more moderate Democrats in the Senate are expected to square off against their more liberal colleagues in the House on the much-debated government-run, single-payer public option.
Whatever form the health care reform laws eventually take, invariably they will have significant impact on both business owners and individuals. It’s highly likely that business owners with 50 or more employees will be compelled to offer health insurance, or face strict penalties. But it’s an equally distinct possibility that those business owners will be able to obtain that health insurance via government facilitated insurance exchanges.
We’ll be sure to continue monitoring these discussions and share any and all pertinent information when more progress is made.