House Passes Health Care Bill, Debate Moves to Senate
Thousands of AGC members respond to call to action
On Saturday night
the House passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act 220 to 215 (click here to view how
your members voted) along party lines with 39 Democrats opposing and one Republican
The debate now shifts to the Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid is getting
Presidential pressure to wrap up the debate before Christmas and Reid may force
the Senate to work Saturdays in December to debate the bill. However, there is
still no final bill in the Senate and Senator Reid will not have a
Congressional Budget Office cost estimate of his latest draft version of health
care reform until the end of this week. With the close House vote, the
Senate will be more deliberate and methodical in its approach than the House.
Senate moderates who represent states where House members opposed the bill will
now feel a tremendous amount of pressure from their constituents, which creates
one more hurdle Senate Democratic leaders have to overcome in order to convince
already skittish moderates to support reform.
Senate targets are the senators from the following states: Arkansas, Alaska,
Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska and
Virginia. For more information on proposed health care reform, visit AGC’s
Health Care Web site.
AGC opposed the $1 trillion “Affordable Health Care for America Act,” because
it failed to address the root cause of rising costs, will likely eliminate
competition and restricts economic growth with punitive penalties for
employers. AGC members answered the call to action last week by sending over
4,000 letters to Congress in less than 24 hours in opposition to the bill. This
response brings this year’s efforts to over 8,000 individual messages. As the
debate shifts to the Senate, AGC of America will again be calling on Chapters
and members to advocate for affordable, quality health care through broader
coverage, choice and competition in the marketplace.
Key provisions of the House bill include:
• Employers will be subjected to an 8 percent payroll tax for each employee that
does not receive coverage from the employer, even if the employer offers
adequate benefits – as determined by a government entity – but the employee
chooses to enter a government plan.
• Mandated expansive coverage and the existence of the public plan in the
legislation will likely eliminate much of the nations’ private insurance. It is
not feasible that the government can be both regulator and participant in the
health care system.
• The $1 trillion bill will be financed by $460 billion in new taxes and $500
billion in future Medicare cuts. The new taxes include a surtax for individuals
with income above $500,000. This tax will be especially harsh for businesses
structured as pass through entities where the business taxes are paid by the
individual company owners, making it more difficult for the employer to operate
the business and create or even retain jobs.
• The punitive business taxes and new and future mandates on insurance coverage
will fail to lower the costs of purchasing health care and could stifle
economic growth at a time when the industry is already suffering unemployment
that is nearly double the national average.
For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or email@example.com.
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