Health Bill Compromise Kicks Off 5-Week Battle

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2009 8:50 PM CDT
Democratic legislators take part in health care news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 19, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – A key House committee approved a health care package tonight, kicking off a 5-week public battle on the issue and sending lawmakers home for August recess, the Washington Post reports. The 31-to-28 vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, fueled by a liberal–Blue Dog deal this morning, could give low-income workers greater subsidies for health insurance.

Liberal and conservative Democrats each won victories in the bill, the Los Angeles Times reports:

  • Libs: Insurers would be limited in premium increases they can impose; feds could negotiate pharmaceutical prices under Medicare.
  • Blue Dogs: More small businesses would be exempted from employer-mandated health care; fewer low-income people would qualify for subsidized coverage.
House Democrats now plan to draw on three committees' health care plans and assemble legislation for a floor vote next month.
(Read more health care stories.)