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The Congressional Budget Office issued a “devastating assessment yesterday of the health care proposals drafted by congressional Democrats, fueling an insurrection among fiscal conservatives in the House and pushing negotiators in the Senate to redouble efforts to draw up a new plan that more effectively restrains federal spending,” according to the Washington Post. The CBO’s statement bolstered contentions by the more conservative Democratic Blue Dog coalition that has been saying proposed health care reforms don’t do enough for rural communities, doctors or hospitals.
Kaiser Health News reports that “a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative House Democrats said he and six others in the group would vote together to block the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee unless changes were made to slow the rate of growth of federal health care spending and to ensure that rural hospitals are adequately reimbursed for treating new patients under the legislation. ‘We simply are demanding a bill that contains costs so that health care can grow at the normal rate of inflation and that addresses many of the rural health care concerns that [hospitals be adequately reimbursed] and that we don’t put small businesses out of business through an employer mandate,’ Rep. Mike Ross, D Ark., said in an interview.”
The Blue Dogs are concerned that requiring employers to pay for insurance will hurt small businesses in rural areas. And they want to make sure that reimbursement rates don’t penalize rural hospitals.