Health Center Federal Policy

The Sprint Begins

With just under a month left before Congress adjourns for the August Recess (and National Health Center Week!), Congressional leaders and President Obama spent the weekend doubling down on their ambitious timeline:  passage of health reform bills by both House and Senate before that break.

So where do things stand?

  • In the House, after last-minute cold feet by conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats, things are back on track and the revised version of legislation is set to be unveiled today.  The three Committees of jurisdiction will begin marking up bills Wednesday, and the Chamber is aiming to pass their bill before leaving town July 31.
  • In the Senate, the HELP Committee enters its third week of marking up legislation, while the Finance Committee is scheduled to release a bill this week.  Finance Committee leaders have been trying to straddle the line between accommodating Committee Republicans and not losing the Democratic base of support, in the quest for 60 votes.  The Senate leaves DC a week later than the House, on August 7th.
  • With regard to health centers, NACHC has posted a new side-by-side on the health center related provisions in the various reform bills.  It can be found under the “Fact Sheets” section of our health reform hub.

The timelines are ambitious to be sure, and conventional wisdom here in town is that while the House will likely meet its deadline, there’s little likelihood a Senate bill will be done by August.  That makes for a busy fall on health care, as one of the only things both sides agree on is that should this debate slip until next year, there’s little chance anything will get done.