Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thusday's Themes

Did anybody notice that I thought it was Thursday yesterday? Too much snow, too tired.

But now it's really Thursday, and the House did vote to repeal health reform yesterday. Democrats defended the law by telling stories of Americans who've benefited.

So now we get down to business -- working to make the bill better, hopefully with some cooperation between the parties so we really get something done rather than just playing for politics. I'm trying to be optimistic; the GOP is now saying that it will keep those aspects of the law that it favors, like keeping children on their parents' policies to age 26. But they're still talking about choking off funding if they can't repeal, so it's still going to be a battle. And some GOP-ers seem to think pre-existing condition exclusions are no big deal, and they see the Democrats' support for reform as "irrational leftist lust for socialism." That kind of talk doesn't portend well for compromise.

Here's a breakdown of the vote. See what your Congressman did, and if he or she voted against repeal, thank him or her. Only three Democrats -- Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre from North Carolina, and Mike Ross of Arkansas -- voted in favor of repeal, along with all of the Republicans.

Today, the House GOP will assign four committees to come up with proposals to replace reform. Expect to see proposals for malpractice reform, attempts to eliminate the individual mandate and replace it with . . . I don't know . . . and more. And even though the law is extremely clear that federal funds cannot be used for abortions, expect to see the GOP try to eliminate abortions under any insurance plan in the Exchanges, even if paid for entirely by the patient. I'll do my best to keep you up to date.

Meanwhile, the FDA is planning changes to its process for approving medical devices, streamlining the process for low-risk devices.

A survey of physicians finds pessimism about the future of health care. They are skeptical of health reform and believe it will make things worse for them. However, many of them signal that they don't know what the law says.

And that's it for this morning's news. Jennifer

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