Each of the two ratified versions of the health care bill currently sitting in Congress was barely passed, by virtually the slimmest margin possible, in a hectic last-minute stampede. Dozens of harsh compromises had to be hammered out to cobble together the fragile framework now standing in each chamber.
The two bills are like delicate Jenga towers, swaying nerve-wrackingly in the breeze, that must now be reassembled by a team of 535 clumsy attention-seekers into a single tower twice as tall. And legislators across the two chambers—and even within them—are not even speaking the same language.
Here are a few of the myriad discrepancies legislators must reconcile to ensure that their monument to Obama’s greatness doesn’t tumble to the ground:
In the House version of the bill, a government-run insurance exchange is created on a national level and includes a public option. In the Senate version, exchanges are created on the state level and do not include a public option. Virtually identical!
The House completely bans the practice 0f charging those with preexisting conditions higher premiums. The Senate allows insurers to offer unlimited discounts for customers who engage in subjectively defined wellness activities: say, exercising, eating healthy, not having contracted lung cancer.
Insurance exchanges are implemented in 2013 in the House bill and 2014 in the Senate bill.
In the House version, employers are forced to provide insurance for their employees and pay a fine if they do not. In the Senate version, employers are not required to provide insurance, but pay a fine for employees who opt for government-run insurance and receive federal subsidies. The House has higher penalties than the Senate. read more »