HEALTH REFORM -- March 4, 2011 at 4:51 PM ET
Health Reform: Senate Passes 1099 Repeal, But Final Passage Not in Sight
File under "even when we agree, we disagree." Perhaps the only aspect of health reform on which Republicans and Democrats concur is the "1099" provision -- both parties say they want to repeal the unpopular measure that would burden small businesses with more tax-reporting paperwork. The Republican-led House passed its 1099 repeal bill Thursday, and the Democratic-led Senate passed a version last month.
But no final bill is in sight, because the two parties can't agree on how to make up for the money that the government will lose if it repeals the measure. So until the two parties can agree on a plan, the 1099 provision will remain in the law.
Also this week:
The Federal government says that more than 5,000 employers are using the early retiree reinsurance program created under the health reform law. The program has given out $535 million so far to help employers provide health insurance for early retirees.
Senate Republicans are asking President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Donald Berwick to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Berwick, who became a lightning rod for Republican criticism, has been leading the agency since last summer via a temporary recess appointment that bypassed the congressional approval process.
Insurers and patient groups met this week to discuss what medical treatments should be considered "essential benefits" under the health reform law. The Wall Street Journal explains.
Here are more stories we covered:
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson said that health reform implementation could go on while the government appeals his ruling that the law is unconstitutional.
President Obama says that he supports an opt-out option for states that can achieve the goals of health care reform in a different way. But Republican governors say that that's not enough flexibility.
On the Hill, legislators hear that Medicare fraud is easy.
Health insurance rate hikes are sparking anger in California.