Is Cover What The Blue Dogs Are Really Demanding?
By Jon Walker
July 21, 2009 - 10:44pm ET
Politico published a list of changes to health care reform demanded by a large group of Blue Dogs. Overall, the demands are a grab bag of cost-cutting proposals, cost-increasing changes, vague ideas, and strange modifications.
What is most important about their list is that it very closely resembles what are likely to be the differences between the House bill and the bill from the Senate Finance Committee. The strong similarity is no coincidence.
I think many of the Blue Dogs genuinely want to see at least some of these changes implemented. But most importantly, I think what many of them want most of all is political cover and reassurance.
(Do the Blue Dogs really plan to do battle to make the Exchange state-based with national oversight instead national with state-based variations?)
They don't want to be on record having voted for a more liberal bill if what emerges out of conference is basically going to just be the Senate Finance Committee bill. I think their most important demand is that they aren't forced to stick their neck out any farther than is absolutely necessary.
Similarity Between Blue Dog Demands And Possible Senate Finance committee Bill:
--Adjust the value and cost of subsidy levels (The Finance bill's early draft language had less generous subsidies and lower standards for what would be considered a minimum plan.)
-- Provide affordability credits on a sliding scale from 100-300 percent FPL (Early draft language from Finance Committee also sets subsidies at a limit of 300% FPL instead of the House's 400%)
--Establish consumer-driven, state-based co-ops (Very likely to come out of Finance Committee)
--Create state-based exchanges with a federal fallback (State-based exchanges are in Senate HELP bill and likely in Senate Finance, unlike the House's current national exchange)
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