Representatives Greg Ganske (R-IA), John Dingell (D-MI), Charles Norwood (R-GA) and Marion Berry (D-AR) have unveiled a new version of their patients? protection bill, H.R. 526, includes several provisions included in the bill passed last month by the Senate (S. 1052). Now included in the bill are provisions that would:
- allow self-employed workers to deduct 100% of their health care costs
- expand medical savings accounts (MSAs)
However, critics continue to point to the potential employer vulnerability to lawsuits under the Ganske/Dingle/Norwood bill, as well as to the likely increase in health care costs, and resulting drop in private heath care coverage.
Ganske/Dingle supporters dismiss such claims as “bogus”, claiming that both the McCain/Kennedy and Ganske/Norwood bills require patients to exhaust appeals of health plan decisions to deny coverage before going to court, while at the same time only holding accountable employers who actually participate in the medical decision process.
The House is expected to take up the issue next week. Also on the table is an alternative measure (H.R. 2315) sponsored by Representatives Ernest Fletcher (R-KY), Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).
President Bush has already said he would veto the Senate bill in its current form – and has thrown his support behind the Fletcher version.