Senate Considers Health Reform Legislation; Timing Uncertain

The U.S. Senate was working hard to develop its version of a health reform measure, but timetable expectations continue to shift. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a health reform bill in May; the Senate leadership had hoped to pass an alternative healthcare coverage measure by the end of June.

Senate Republicans are using a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to get their proposal through. The reconciliation process requires only a simple majority of members (51) to support the legislation, as opposed to the standard 60-vote threshold. While reconciliation provides the Republicans an opportunity to pass a bill with only Republican support (52 members of the Senate), since the Republicans can only afford to lose up to two votes in the event of a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, the margin for victory is very small and the voice of each of the Republican Senators is amplified.

While Senate Republicans are wrestling with many different healthcare bill topics, the focus is on how to adjust the current Medicaid expansion without harming states that have expanded or programs that have higher Medicaid costs, while not penalizing states that chose not to expand or have efficiently managed their Medicaid programs.

The Endocrine Society has continued to meet with senators to advocate for affordable and adequate health insurance. We have also shared non-partisan principles we believe should be incorporated into any legislative proposal:

  • Affordable access to health insurance;
  • Inclusion of preventive health benefits;
  • New models of coordinated care that Endocrine Society members can participate in; and
  • Protection of women’s health.

 

Take Action: We strongly encourage all U.S. Society members to share our principles with your senators before a vote is taken. The Society has an online advocacy campaign available. All you need to do is provide EITHER your home address OR your email and member ID. Our software will provide you with an email you can personalize if you choose to and will direct the email to your senators.

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