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House Democrats Whipped into Shape by Executive Order

After a Sunday afternoon debate, including drama, and what seemed like all members of Congress taking the floor to verbalize their opinions, House Democrats garnered enough votes to pass the Reconciliation Act of 2010. Bart Stupak (D. Michigan) announced at a 4pm press conference that, as a result of an agreement with an executive order set forth by President Obama that no funds from the health reform package would be used for abortion services or abortion coverage, he would vote for this bill. With the support of Stupak and his Democratic Coalition, the House voted 219-212 to approve a sweeping overhaul of the health insurance industry and, by a vote of 220-211 the amendment that would eliminate the now famous “cornhusker kickback” among other special interest additions to the bill.

Not so fast. While the underlying bill will be sent to the President today, the reconciliation component now goes back to the Senate for a vote, with no filibusters allowed. A 51 vote simple majority is all that will be required to pass this ground breaking health care reform. That said, any amendment by the Senate will require that the bill be sent back to the House so that both bills are identical. Republican Senators will likely challenge the impact of the “Cadillac tax” on Social Security revenue in an attempt to force the bill back to the House.

While it is certainly possible for the Republicans to debate the Cadillac tax and offer other amendments with the express purpose of avoiding a simple majority, Republicans will have to move quickly if they hope to find areas where an amendment would require another vote in the House.

Now what? Even if the reconciliation bill is passed by the Senate, only a very few provisions will impact individuals and small businesses in 2010. Most are effective between 2014 and 2018. And 2010 is a midterm election year, so who knows what stays and what goes?

More confusion! For a financial advisor, it is difficult to determine exactly what health care reform will mean to clients. It will still affect cash flow. For an employee, health insurance benefits will certainly change down the road.

For additional information, contact EABHealthWorks.