What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Insurance Industry : A vote on a Republican motion to order the previous question -- thus ending debate and possibility of amendment -- on adoption of the rule (H Res 638) to provide for House floor consideration of three health care related bills (HR4279, HR4280, HR4281), measures which Democrats labeled as an assault on the U.S. healthcare system.
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A vote on a Republican motion to order the previous question -- thus ending debate and possibility of amendment -- on adoption of the rule (H Res 638) to provide for House floor consideration of three health care related bills (HR4279, HR4280, HR4281), measures which Democrats labeled as an assault on the U.S. healthcare system.
house Roll Call 157     May 12, 2004
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Rep. Debbie Pryce (R-Ohio) was successful in her motion to order the previous question -- thus ending debate and possibility of amendment -- on adoption of the rule (H Res 638) to provide for House floor consideration of three health care related bills (HR4279, HR4280, HR4281). Those bills would: allow up to $500 of unused funds in a flexible spending account (FSA) to be rolled over to the following year's FSA or transferred to a health savings account; cap the awards in medical malpractice cases; and allow the creation of association health plans for small companies. Progressives objected to closing out debate on the measures, on the grounds, they said, that the bills in question were designed not to help patients or doctors, but to enrich insurers, health maintenance organizations and the segment of the population that is wealthy and in relatively good health. Progressives also objected to there not being ample discussion of how to extend health insurance coverage to the 44 million uninsured Americans. Progressives labeled the three bills an assault on the U.S. healthcare system, and charged the bills were part of what they said was a conservative agenda to eliminate employer-based health care coverage by encouraging employees to set aside their own health care funds - an option progressives says is not realistic for most lower and mid-wage workers. Moreover, progressives also noted that the FSA in concept is in no way prohibited at present: Individuals presently can choose to establish savings accounts to pay for their out-of-pocket costs. However, progressives also asserted that FSAs have the potential to split the health insurance market, because FSAs are likely to be appealing to younger, healthier workers who would gain financially from a high deductible, lower cost plan because they use few health resources at any one time. As such, progressives reasoned, premiums for traditional indemnity plans would rise very rapidly, and as such, firms are likely to offer only an FSA option. Conservatives argued that Democratic amendments had been given ample consideration, and the motion was agreed to 222-202, with all Republicans but no Democrats voting in the motion's favor.

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