On this day of action, it is important to understand the status of the health care reform legislative process so we can see how to move forward. Below is a brief summary of the process (for more details, please see the Health Care for American Now website).
In a historic first, all Committees in Congress with jurisdiction over health care reform have each passed a bill. These Committees include three in the House (Ways & Means, Education & Labor, and Energy & Commerce) and two in the Senate (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) and the Finance Committee). All of the bills have some differences, which will now be merged in each chamber. Following a vote in the House and the Senate, a compromise will then have to be reached through a Conference Committee.
In the House, there are substantial differences between the bills passed by the Energy & Commerce Committee and the bill coming out of both Ways & Means and the Education & Labor Committee. The Energy & Commerce bill differs substantially by requiring any public option plan to negotiate payment rates with providers, rather than building off the Medicare rates.
In the Senate, there are also substantial differences between the bills passed by the HELP Committee and the Finance Committee. In particular, the HELP bill has a public health insurance option and an annual fee on employers who do not provide coverage.
For a comparison of all bills, please view the side-by-side tables put together by the Kaiser Foundation.
What You Can Do:
There are many things you can do to help reform health care:
- Call your Members of Congress in support of reform – Take a look at the options (side-by-side table) and call your Members of Congress to let them know what option works for you.
- Attend an Event - Get involved in the effort in your state and in your community to help tell Congress we need affordable health care for all.
- Tell your story – If you are struggling to pay for health care, were denied coverage, or have a story or an opinion why reform is necessary please share it in the comment section below or email us.