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Ex-House Aging Committee Chief of Staff Bob Weiner Warns of Insurance Control Over Health Bill Outcome, Praises House Version, 'Disappointed' by Senate; Weiner and Policy Analyst Jordan Osserman Offer Bill's 'Prognosis'
Date:8/7/2009

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "The differences between the House and Senate health care reform bills aren't just for wonky policy experts," say former Chief of Staff to the House Aging Committee Bob Weiner and Analyst Jordan Osserman. "They translate to real differences in Americans' lives."

In an op-ed column in today's Palm Beach Post, "THE PROGNOSIS FOR REFORM," Weiner and Osserman contend, "With no public option, the Senate Finance bill, developed by Republicans and Blue Dogs and led by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), does not assure lower premiums -- yet reducing spiraling health costs is the main reason for taking action. The Baucus-Grassley bill provides all coverage only through existing insurance companies. The Kennedy-Dodd bill from the Health Committee has a public option."

Comparing the Senate Finance Committee bill with the health care legislation in the House, Weiner and Osserman say, "All of these bills would cover most of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance, stop denials for pre-existing conditions, allow job portability, cover the 'doughnut hole' in prescription drug coverage that is a problem for the 3 million Floridians on Medicare, and emphasize prevention of illnesses."

"However, the cost to consumers will be contingent on whether the House or Senate bill prevails and what kind of compromise is engineered in the conference committee."

Weiner and Osserman conclude, "Seventy-six percent of Americans support the public option. Without consumer pressure over the next three months of votes in Congress, however, real change will be whittled away. Florida has particular sway as a battleground state renowned for its senior power. It's time for everyone to become active in the debate. Otherwise, the insurance companies will control the outcome."

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SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates
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