Congressman Bruce Braley says he has “some very serious concerns” about the health care reform plan a key Democrat in the senate unveiled this week. Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus met with two other Democrats and three Republicans for weeks before releasing his own plan Wednesday. Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which drafted its own health care reform plan in late July.
“I am not at all happy with some of the things that were left out of the senate bill,” Braley says, “but the reality is, is that is not the final senate bill.” Braley says he expects a “much stronger” bill to pass the house and the senate. “This is a long and difficult process and I think that everybody needs to negotiate and work on this bill in good faith so that it is in the best shape possible when it reaches the president’s desk,” Braley says. “And that’s how I intend to approach the bill.”
The latest health care reform plan to emerge this week would require nearly all Americans to get insurance coverage, or face a penalty of up to $950. “There are some modest penalties in the House bill that are much less severe,” Braley says. “…One of the things that the House bill does is is it tries to strike a balance between the obvious need to make sure that everyone is part of the marketplace which is the best way to implement preventative measures effectively and reduce the overall cost of our health care burden while at the same time not being as punitive on people who right now think that they can benefit by not participating in the system.”
According to Braley there are some provisions in the recently-revealed senate plan which boost pay for doctors, hospitals and other health care institutions in Iowa which provide care for Medicare patients, but the senate plan does not move as far as on that issue as the plan that cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee.