US healthcare reform timeline

December 24th, 2009 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Dec 24 (IANS) With the passage of a Senate bill for healthcare reform Thursday, President Barack Obama is hoping to sign his top domestic priority into law before his Jan 21 State of the Union address.
Congressional debate on the complicated issue of healthcare reform began in spring and continued into the summer and autumn. Here’s how the legislation wended its way through the Congress:

Feb 4: In one of the first concrete signs of reform and just two weeks after his inauguration, President Obama signs into law an expansion of S-CHIP, increasing healthcare coverage from 7 million to 11 million children.

March: Industry stakeholders speak up.

April-May: Health care reform gets rolling.

June 8: Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions (HELP) Committee releases a 615-page bill.

June 11: President Obama tells American Medical Association (AMA): “I need your help.” AMA opposes government-run plan.

June 15: Congressional Budget Office says Senate HELP committee proposal could cost $1 trillion, and would cover only 16 million of the 46 million Americans now uninsured.

July 29: Reform moves forward as House Democrat leaders agree with fiscally conservative Democrats known as “Blue Dogs”, on negotiations that trim the bill’s cost.

July 31: The House Energy and Commerce Committee votes 31-28, largely along party lines, late in the evening to pass healthcare legislation.

Aug 26: Senator Edward Kennedy, who helped draft a preliminary bill earlier in the summer to overhaul the US healthcare system in what he called “the cause of my life”, dies after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

Sep 10: In a nationally televised speech to the joint sessions of Congress, Obama presents a detailed outline of a plan to provide insurance to those without coverage, and slow the growth of healthcare costs for families, businesses, and the government.

Sep 16: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus introduces his long-awaited healthcare bill (America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009).

Sep 20: President Obama continues to defend his healthcare reform efforts in back-to-back broadcasts of taped interviews on five morning news programmes.

Sep 28: Two key amendments that proposed the creation of a government-run plan are defeated in a key Senate panel vote during the markup of America’s Healthy Future Act.

Oct 13: The Senate Finance Committee votes along party lines to approve its landmark healthcare bill. Senator Olympia Snowe is the sole Republican supporter.

Oct 21: The Senate votes down a bill to increase Medicare payments to doctors.

Oct 26: Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, announces a proposal to include a public option in healthcare legislation.

Oct 30: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi proposes the inclusion of a public option in the house’s healthcare reform bill, as well as an expansion of Medicaid.

Nov 7: The House passes its health bill late Saturday night, by a 220-215 margin.

Nov 21: The Senate votes on a Saturday to begin full debate on major healthcare legislation.

Dec 16: President Obama urges Senate Democrats to continue pushing a healthcare overhaul through before Christmas.

Dec 21: The Senate votes 60-40 along party lines to end debate on its healthcare reform bill with the last of Democrat hold-outs backing the bill.

Dec 24: The Senate pass the bill 60-39 on Christmas Eve.

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