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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Starting over on Indian health reform bill


"Did health care reform die at the ballot box? I’ve been reading on Twitter how pleased Republicans are with Scott Brown’s win for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. It’s a game changer.

The best way to catch the wave of that particular thought is to search Twitter using the hashtags #hcr or #tcot (health care reform and True Conservative on Twitter). The comments boil down to a push to “slow down” the government “take over” of the health care system.

Unfortunately “slow down” in this context means kill. Starting over is a process measured in years, not the months ahead before a new round of congressional elections.

Democrats say they’d still like to press ahead with a health bill, but it’s likely to be smaller. The House could, in theory, pass the current Senate bill without changes, sending it directly to the president. But that seems to be unlikely because those Democrats who weren’t all that excited about health care reform now have an easy exit. It’s scurry time in DC.

The really tough thing about the chain of events is that it will be tricky to keep the Indian Health Care Improvement Act as part of any larger package; that likely means starting over as its own bill. Senate Indian Affairs Chairman Byron Dorgan told the Bismarck Tribune on Jan. 13 that the Indian Health Care Improvement Act remains a priority. Perhaps he can find a way to restart the bill on its own."

Get the Story:
Now what? Start over? (Mark Trahant 1/20)

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