As many had speculated, the bark of the Blue Dog Democrats has proven bigger than their bite, and they have now struck a deal with Henry Waxman that should move the bill out of the House energy and Commerce Committee, while extracting an agreement that would put off a floor vote by the full House until after August recess.
The Politico has these details of the deal:
The Blue Dogs also succeeded in cutting $100 billion from the overall cost of the bill, bringing the total price tag under $1 trillion. The legislation will now exempt small businesses with a payroll greater than $500,000 from paying for any government-sponsored health coverage – double the $250,000 in the initial draft. And finally, under the terms of the deal Ross announced, doctors and other health care providers will be allowed to negotiate their payment rates with the government-sponsored health care arm.
Assuming these are all the changes, it wouldn’t alter the overall infrastructure of the bill. It would still mean a massive expansion of Medicaid, providing subsidies for people to purchase government-designed insurance policies on a government-run exchange, creating a new government-run health care program that would put the nation on a pathway to single-payer, mandates on individuals to purchase insurance or pay a tax, and a tax hike on employers that did not provide health care to their workers. And it’s not clear how many of the compromises will be adopted by the full House once this bill is reconciled by the two other committees.
But by delaying the full House vote until September, it means that there will still be time for Blue Dogs to change their mind on the final bill if they take a lot of heat from their constituents during August recess.
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