News Archive

New Information

View an animated video explaining the new healthcare law.

Use the tool on this website to determine your health insurance options under the new law.

Implementing the Health Care Legislation

In March, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), and the reconciliation package (HR 4872). While many of the policies will take effect in 2014, we are continuing to understand how portions of the law will be implemented. View the documents below for more information.

State Health Insurance Exchanges and Medicaid

Accountable Care Organizations and Health Innovation Zones

Health Professional Workforce

Implementation Timeline

A more detailed version of the bill’s implementation can be found here as well as the potential impact on UNMC.

How does health reform affect you?

General Resources Individuals: Large Employers: Small businesses:
View Dr. Tom Tape's power point presentation entitled: What does health care reform mean to us? Determine your options under the new law. Poll: Nearly one-half of organizations surveyed will not drop health coverage. Use the Energy and Commerce Committee's calculator
Kaiser: What the New Health Law Means for You Learn what services insurers must cover for new health plans.    
  Information on high-risk health insurance pools    
(Highlighted areas represent completion)
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President’s “Sidecar” Health Reform Proposal Might Use Reconciliation Process

President Obama is urging Congress to continue moving health reform to an up or down vote within the next few weeks.

Being discussed is whether the House of Representatives is willing pass the Senate bill, HR3590, and then consider the President’s proposal as a separate companion bill being called the “side car” legislation. Under the proposal, the “sidecar legislation” would be debated using the reconciliation process.

Reconciliation is a procedure by which Congress implements budget policies affecting spending and revenue programs. The principal focus of the reconciliation process has been deficit reduction, but in many cases health related provisions have been included in bills passed using reconciliation. Examples of this occurred in:

  • 1982 to open Medicare to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and required hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay;
  • 1986 to establish the COBRA program that allows laid off workers to keep their health coverage;
  • 1996 to Reform Welfare and separated Medicaid from welfare laws;
  • 1997 to create the state-federal children’s health insurance program (CHIP);
  • 2005 to reduce Medicaid spending and allow parents of disabled children to buy into Medicaid.

The reconciliation process requires a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate and has been used 22 times since 1980. It is not subject to a filibuster, but does permit rules of order to eliminate non-relevant provisions and an opportunity to offer amendments that could extend the debate in the Senate. For more explanation of the reconciliation process, check out this video from Politico.

White House Health Reform Summit Set

President Obama has invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the White House for a health reform “summit” on February 25th. The meeting is an attempt to revive the debate that has been stalled since the Massachusetts special election and more attention has focused on a jobs bill. On Monday, February 22, the president released his proposal, combining both the House and Senate bills as a starting point of discussions.

The Administration disagrees with the notion of starting over saying the current proposals provide a solid starting point for discussions. View the list of invitees. For further information on the summit please visit the following links:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal/whatsnew/overview
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/02/12/a-bipartisan-meeting-health-reform-invites-are-out
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/02/09/reaching-across-aisle-jobs-and-health-reform

Massachusetts Election Delays Health Care Reform Legislation
[Updated 1-22-2010]
Massachusetts voters hit the polls on January 19 to decide who would succeed the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. Republican Scott Brown overcame a 30 point margin to win the election. During his campaign, Brown promised to vote against the Democratic healthcare bill. As the 41st Republican senator, Senate Democrats no longer have a 60-vote majority to overcome GOP filibusters.

Post-election, several strategies have been discussed to pass health care reform legislation: 

Option #1: Ask the House to adopt the Senate bill and make changes during a budget reconciliation process. This may no longer be an option since House Speaker Pelosi confirmed that the House does not have the votes to pass the Senate bill. 

Option #2: The current consensus appears to be a scaled-back approach that would involve a new bill or bills based on popular policies such as insurance market reforms, efforts to reduce costs and help small businesses, extending insurance coverage on parents' policies until the age of 26, and addressing the Medicare Doughnut hole. 

As always, the UNMC team is closely monitoring this issue and will keep you informed of any developments.

[Updated 1-4-2010]
On December 24th, the Senate passed sweeping healthcare legislation 60-39. View this document for key provisions in the Senate-passed version. This month, conferees from the House and Senate will begin merging the House and Senate-passed bills. 

[Updated 12-21-2009]
The Senate released the Manager's Amendment (a package of individual amendments agreed to by both sides) to their health care reform bill. CBO estimates the bill will cost $871 billion over 10 years and will reduce the deficit by $132 billion. The new bill is expected to cover 31 million currently uninsured Americans. The Senate is expected to pass the bill on December 24th. The House has adjourned for the year, so the two bills will be conferenced upon their return in January.

On Saturday, December 19, the Senate passed a two-month freeze in Medicare physician payments. The payment freeze (through Feb. 28) is part of the defense appropriations bill (HR 3326), which is awaiting the President’s signature. The two-month freeze is intended to allow Congress sufficient time to draft, debate, and approve long-term physician payment reform. If payment reform is not passed before March 1, physicians will face a 21.2 % reduction in Medicare payments.

[Updated 12-3-2009]
CSPAN offers live coverage of the Senate's debate on its website.

[Updated 11-19-2009]
The Senate unveiled its $849 billion version of healthcare overhaul legislation. The legislation represents the merged version of the Senate HELP and Finance Committees. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the measure would cut the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years and extend health coverage to more than 94 percent of Americans. View the 2074 page document. A full Senate vote is expected as early as Saturday, November 21.

[Updated 11-9-2009]
The House passed its health reform bill 220-215 late on Saturday, November 7th. View the roll call vote. The Senate must merge the HELP and Finance Committee bills, and take a full Senate vote before the House legislation is considered.

[Updated 10-29-2009]
The House unveiled a merged version of a health reform bill containing a "negotiated rate" public option. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will cost $894 billion over 10 years, cut the deficit by $30 billion, and extend insurance coverage to 96% of Americans. The House is expected to begin debate on the bill toward the end of the Nov. 2 week. Once passed, it will have to be merged with the Senate's bill, passed again by both chambers and sent to the President. The Congressional Plans page contains helpful summaries of the House bill.

[Updated 10-27-2009]
Read our newest publication: The Impact of Health Care Reform on the Business Community.

[Updated 10-13-2009]
The Senate Finance Committee passed its version of the legislation (S.1796) on Tuesday, October 13 on a 14-9 vote. The bill must be merged with a version approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee before it is voted on by the full Senate.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Finance Committee’s draft bill would cost $829 billion over a decade and reduce the deficit by $81 billion. It would also expand insurance coverage to 94 percent of Americans under age 65.

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