The end could be near on health reform. In a speech this afternoon, President Obama said he has asked congressional leaders to schedule a final vote on health reform legislation in the next few weeks. “No matter which approach you favor, I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health care reform,” President Obama said.
Exactly what lawmakers would be voting on is a little unclear. The two chambers have each passed their own versions of reform legislation and President Obama recently released his own plan, which incorporates elements of both bills but looks much more like the Senate’s version. And on March 2nd, the President sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining some additional Republican proposals he think should be “explored” as part of health reform. A couple of these ideas could be helpful for physicians. One plan is to include a $50 million appropriation in the reform bill that would fund grants to states to set up demonstration projects on alternatives to resolving medical malpractice disputes. The President also signaled that he would be open to increasing Medicaid reimbursements for physicians as part of the Medicaid expansion envisioned under health reform.
As President Obama closed his speech, he urged “let’s get it done.” Do you think the President’s public relations push will give Democrats the momentum they need to pass a final health reform bill this year?
— Mary Ellen Schneider (on Twitter @MaryEllenNY)